EUROPE & CIS: A Russian virgin for billionaire Branson

Billionaire Richard Branson plans to start an airline in Russia in order to tap the 10 per cent annual growth of the market there. Th e new carrier will tentatively be called Virgin Russia and could begin operations within 12 months. Th e carrier will initially fly domestic routes, with international routes to be added […]


Billionaire Richard Branson plans to start an airline in Russia in order to tap the 10 per cent annual growth of the market there. Th e new carrier will tentatively be called Virgin Russia and could begin operations within 12 months.

Th e carrier will initially fly domestic routes, with international routes to be added at a later date. Russia¡¯s economy expanded by 8.1 per cent last year, the fastest pace since 2000 and the country is in its 10th consecutive year of growth. Russian airlines flew 45 million passengers last year, an 18 per cent increase from 2006.