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News about Virgin Atlantic

Virgin says sales are up thanks to T5 troubles

10 June 2008

Virgin Atlantic claimed yesterday it was still boosting sales in the aftermath of the troubled Terminal 5 opening, with passenger numbers rising 6% last month.

The airline will announce today that it is hiring 100 extra cabin crew as it adds an extra flight to its daily London-to-Hong Kong service.

Virgin Atlantic said it was seeing strong sales on services to the Caribbean and the US despite a downturn in consumer confidence and rising fuel surcharges, driven by the high oil price.


Branson to Start Airline in Russia

2 February 2008

It could be one of his most ambitious projects yet. Virgin Group chairman Sir Richard Branson, one of Britain’s most prominent entrepreneurs, said Thursday that his firm was in talks with local partners to establish a new Russian airline, one of several possible new ventures.

Virgin is in talks with “two or three” local carriers and expects to make an announcement about a new partner in the next three months, Branson told reporters at an investment conference in Moscow.

source: The Moscow Times

Virgin Atlantic to run 747 on biofuel

14 January 2008

Virgin Atlantic said Monday it would fly one of its Boeing 747 planes on biofuel during a demonstration flight from London to Amsterdam next month.

Virgin Atlantic Chairman Richard Branson said the test flight, which he called the first of its kind, would yield crucial information on how to reduce aviation’s carbon footprint.

Branson launched an alternative fuels division at Virgin in 2006, pledging the profits from his airline and trains for 10 years.

source: Business Week

Virgin Atlantic crew strike called off

8 January 2008

A strike by Virgin Atlantic cabin crew, which would have seen 48-hour walkouts this week and next, has been called off.

The deal between the airline and the trade union, Amicus, will see the crew get a 4.8 per cent pay increase this year and a guarantee of a rise in line with inflation next year.

But the agreement came too late for the airline to reinstate the flights it had cancelled – with Virgin having already made alternative arrangements for those passengers affected.


You could go elsewhere, Branson tells airline staff

2 January 2008

Sir Richard Branson has angered Virgin Atlantic staff who are threatening to strike by telling them they should “consider working elsewhere”.

The entrepreneur, estimated to be worth £3.1 billion, told 4,800 cabin crew in a letter that he would not meet their pay demands. He said: “For some of you, more pay than Virgin Atlantic can afford may be critical to your life-style and if that is the case you should consider working elsewhere.

Union members have voted to stage 48-hour strikes on January 9-10 and January 16-17.

Sir Richard said he had drawn a line in the sand in the dispute with staff belonging to the Unite union, which is embroiled in separate negotiations with BAA, the airports operator.

source: Times OnLine

New Year strike threat for airline travellers

4 December 2007

More than 3,000 cabin crew working for Virgin Atlantic have started balloting on industrial action in a wages dispute.

The result of the ballot, being conducted by Unite – the union formed following the merger of the TGWU and Amicus – will be announced on Dec 20.

If the Virgin crew vote for industrial action, a stoppage would be most likely to take place in January and could coincide with another proposed walkout by the 5,000 Unite members working for airport operators BAA.

They have threatened industrial action in protest at plans to axe the company’s final salary pension scheme for new staff.


Virgin’s Branson to buy 20 pct stake in Malaysia’s AirAsia

24 June 2007

British billionaire Richard Branson of Virgin Group is touted to be taking a stake in Malaysia’s new AirAsia long-haul budget airline.

Branson will take a 20 pct stake in Fly Asian Express (FAX), teaming up with Asia’s aviation tycoon Tony Fernandes to run flights from Malaysia to China, Europe and Australia, the newspaper reported, citing sources familiar with the negotiations.

source: Forbes

Virgin Atlantic to launch London-Mauritius service

7 June 2007

Virgin Atlantic said it plans to launch twice-weekly direct services between London Heathrow and Mauritius on October 28.

Sir Richard Branson’s airline said the new service to the Indian Ocean island would bring its total number of destinations to 29, with Kingston in Jamaica being the 30th route to be launched two days later.


Branson’s Virgin to launch business-only airline

4 June 2007

Sir Richard Branson’s airline Virgin Atlantic said it is to set up a business class-only carrier flying between Europe and the US.

Virgin issued a statement saying it intends to launch an all-business class airline within the next 12 to 18 months.

The airline will fly initially from cities including Paris, Frankfurt, Milan and Zurich non-stop to New York and other major destinations, as well as between London and the US, Virgin said.

The new airline, which may also use the Virgin Atlantic name, will offer better quality than existing all-business carriers at the same or lower prices,‘ Virgin said in a statement.


Virgin to save Kenyan elephants

3 June 2007

Virgin Atlantic chairman Sir Richard Branson on Saturday announced a programme aimed at saving elephants in Kenya, as he boarded his airline’s first flight to the east African nation.

He pledged 250,000 dollars (186,000 euros) to help create Virgin Mount Kenya Elephant Corridor that would benefit about 2,000 elephants threatened by human encroachment.

Historically, the African elephant has roamed across the continent from South Africa to the Mediterranean coast but its population is under serious threat,” Branson told reporters in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

source: Sunday Times