Virgin Atlantic and Delta
- By Richard Branson -
- Dec 11, 2012
Today is an exciting day for Virgin Atlantic and Delta. The purchase by Delta of the 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic and the announcement of our joint venture signals a new era of expansion and is a really exciting opportunity to build a strong partnership between our two airlines.
Working closely with Delta we will cooperate on growing the number of places we fly, improving schedules and providing better connections to the benefit of millions of business and leisure passengers across the Atlantic. Together we will deliver really effective competition to the other airline joint ventures and alliances out there.
Ignore the press speculation - I’m not going anywhere.
We started the airline 28 years ago with just one plane flying out of Gatwick to Newark. I still remember the negotiation with Boeing for the 747 and that first exciting flight as if it was yesterday.
We have come a long way since then and have continued doing things differently - innovating with seat-back entertainment; limousine services; new classes of travel and the longest bars in the sky. We’re always looking for ways to provide exceptional customer service and looking at ways to surprise even the most hardened traveller.
For almost three decades Virgin Atlantic has been punching above its weight. We fought hard to stop BA and American Airlines getting together but they created a complete giant across the Atlantic. Now we are partnering with Delta we can give them a real run for their money which is I suspect why BA’s Chief Executive has behaved the way he has over the last couple of days.
I hope that today will be recognised as another milestone in that journey and that together with Delta we will be able to take our airlines to another level.
The deal offers many exciting opportunities and there is plenty for both sides to do now. I’m looking forward to this joint venture getting approved by the regulators so that we can get on with it. Everyone will benefit – our customers and our business.
Virgin Atlantic will retain that independent spirit that our customers know and love – but from now on we can work with Delta to ensure we can bring that service to many more people on both sides of the Atlantic.
I look forward to working with Richard Anderson and his team and continuing to give the rest of the industry a true run for its money. Glad to see he feels as strongly as we do about the value of the Virgin brand and what it can bring to this venture. When he was asked if there was validity to Willie Walsh's claim that Delta is going to wipe out Virgin he replied: "No! This makes my blood boil. The whole purpose is to join our brands together." We wholeheartedly agree.
Thank you also to Singapore Airlines for years of success together and we look forward to continuing working with them as partners in Virgin Australia.
By Richard Branson. Founder of Virgin Group