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Virgin Atlantic axes Little Red venture

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Branson: “The odds were stacked against us”

Virgin Atlantic has attacked European regulators after deciding to end its Little Red service. The carrier’s final flight will be in September 2015, just two-and-a-half years after it launched.

Virgin Atlantic started the service after the European Commission awarded it a number of take-off and landing slots at Heathrow following International Airlines Group’s takeover of BMI. But Virgin Atlantic chief executive Craig Kreeger said the number of slots handed over was “totally inadequate” and did not come “close to BA’s network position”.

“While this challenged environment meant Little Red ultimately did not deliver the results we had hoped, this certainly will not dampen our enthusiasm to try new things in the future. We have always fought for what we believe is best for our customers and we will continue to do so.”

President of Virgin Atlantic Sir Richard Branson said: “When the competition authorities allowed British Airways to take over British Midland and all of its slots, we feared there was little we could do to challenge BA’s huge domestic and European network built through decades of dominance. To remedy this, we were offered a meagre package of slots with a number of constraints on how to use them and we decided to lease a few planes on a short term basis to give it our best shot. The odds were stacked against us and sadly we just couldn’t attract enough corporate business on these routes.”

TTG Digital

[pictured: Little Red aircraft]

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