Branson claims Heathrow slots are 'crumbs off the table' as his new airline brand Little Red launches

Sir Richard Branson has claimed that his Virgin Atlantic carrier had been given just some "crumbs off the table" as he launched a new domestic airline brand.

The entrepreneur condemned Britain's aviation regulation after flying into Edinburgh for the first time on Virgin Atlantic's new domestic brand, Little Red, which has been created after the airline last year bought 12 take-off and landing slots at Heathrow.

Virgin could access the slots because British Airways was forced to cede them after buying bmi, and Sir Richard said: "We've waited longer than 30 years for the slots at Heathrow, and never got them. It's only because of bmi's demise that any crumbs came off the table.

"Now we're putting those crumbs to good use flying to Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Manchester. We need that in order to compete properly with BA – we can now feed passengers into Heathrow and into our 30 long-haul services to the Far East, Australasia and America. But for some bizarre reason the competition authorities didn't give us [London to] Glasgow slots, so BA still has the monopoly on that route."

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