Europe/CIS: “No way BA-AA!” says Virgin’s Branson

Virgin Atlantic president Richard Branson said he was prepared to spend heavily to try to prevent a planned tieup between British Airways, American Airlines and Spain’s Iberia. “If it is approved we believe Virgin Atlantic will be damaged (along with) … any smaller carriers on these routes,” Branson told reporters recently, adding he would spend […]


American Airlines British Airways Richard Branson Spain's Iberia tie-up Virgin Atlantic Willie Walsh


Virgin Atlantic president Richard Branson said he was prepared to spend heavily to try to prevent a planned tieup between British Airways, American Airlines and Spain’s Iberia.

“If it is approved we believe Virgin Atlantic will be damaged (along with) … any smaller carriers on these routes,” Branson told reporters recently, adding he would spend “millions of dollars” in a bid to block the tie-up.

He said he would start by painting “no way BA-AA!” slogans on all Virgin’s aircraft and would continue with an advertising campaign claiming the dominance of the alliance on key UK-US routes will put up prices.

The comments are the latest in a series of disputes between Branson and British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh, who has accused the Virgin empire founder of getting his figures wrong about the extent of BA-AA dominance.