Virgin Group chairman hits back over rumours about brand
As a deal nears to sell Singapore Airlines’ 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic Airways to Delta Air Lines, Virgin Group’s chairman Richard Branson has dismissed the idea that it could finish the Virgin Atlantic brand. None of the airlines are not commenting publicly as negotiations continue, but Virgin Group is likely to keep hold of its 51% stake. However, the CEO of International Airlines Group, Willie Walsh, told the UK newspaper The Telegraph that he “can’t see Delta wanting to operate the Virgin brand because if they do, what does that say about the Delta brand?” Delta, he speculated, is mainly interested in Virgin Atlantic’s valuable London Heathrow slots.
In response, Branson said on his blog: “Rumours have been spread in the press that I am planning to give up control of Virgin Atlantic and, according to Willie Walsh, […] that our brand will soon disappear. This is wishful thinking and totally misguided. […] Virgin Atlantic was my baby 28 years ago when we set up with just one plane. Like all children, they never really stop being your babies and Virgin Atlantic is still much cherished. […] We intend to carry on […] for many years to come and, contrary to Mr Walsh’s hopes, we have no plans to disappear.”