Sir Richard Branson Celebrates 21 Years of Virgin Atlantic.

Position::Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd.

Sir Richard Branson Celebrates 21 Years of Virgin Atlantic

On Friday June 22 1984 amid great hype, a new airline took to the skies, Virgin Atlantic Airways. Its one-way fare from Gatwick to Newark on the less fashionable New Jersey side of New York was $150 / [pounds sterling]99. Very visibly the power behind the whole project was Richard Branson, then 33, and already the highly successful entrepreneur behind the Virgin record group. The late Randolph Fields, an Anglo American lawyer, was his partner and given it was only two years since the failure of another high profile operation, that of Laker Airways, many were skeptical as to the success of the new project. Amongst the high profile passenger list was illusionist Uri Gellar, "It's all make believe", one commentator was supposed to have said, "Just like the Israeli magician, Branson's trying to create a false impression". Never have so many been proven wrong, with today's Virgin Atlantic a major force in international long distance air transport, with a current fleet of 32 aircraft and the mighty Airbus A380 on order. When Cuba, Montego Bay and Dubai are added to the route network later this year Virgin Atlantic will serve 30 airports all around the globe.

It is interesting to go back to 1984. Entry for new British airlines was very difficult, with British Caledonian a powerful second force to Brtish Airways and, although we did not know it at...

To continue reading