Richard Branson Explains Decision to Shut Down Virgin Atlantic

14th Mar 2014

Operating in Australia was costing Virgin Atlantic about $10 million a year according to Sir Richard Branson.

While he hopes that the airline can one day operate again in the country, for now he will have to fly on British Airways or Qantas, two of his fiercest competitors.

"I love going to Australia and the idea of having to go on Qantas or British Airways is going to be very, very painful" he said. "But hopefully we'll be back one day."

"We have a great Virgin Australian airline when you get there, which has got 35 percent of the market, so we're just going to have a bag over our heads for that one leg from Hong Kong onwards [from London], sadly, in the future" Branson told Arabian Business during a weekend visit to Dubai.\

?I suspect we carried on going too long [on the Sydney-Hong Kong route] and that's always a danger in business, you hope that next year will be better than the previous year" Branson admitted.

According to Branson, big alliances between major airlines like the Qantas Emirates partnership will lead to increased prices as competition between airlines drops. He believes that the governments have a role to play in stopping mergers that will be detrimental to consumer power.

He also remarked that the Virgin Atlantic and Delta partnership was formed as a reaction to the British Airways and American Airlines partnership.

?That then caused us to go along to Delta and say 'we need a big brother now',? Branson said.