Virgin Atlantic brand at risk in Delta takeover move

The Virgin Atlantic brand will disappear from the skies if Delta succeeds with its bid for Sir Richard Branson's airline, Willie Walsh claimed in the latest in a long line of verbal spars between the two aviation bosses.

Delta, the second-biggest United States airline, is interested in buying Singapore Airlines' 49 per cent stake in Virgin, as the Asian airline tries to move its focus from the crowded European market to South-east Asia and Australia.

"I can't see how an airline like [Delta] would need to keep a second brand like Virgin in its stable," Mr Walsh said. He also predicted Sir Richard would sell out of Virgin if Delta did successfully bid.

To bid for Virgin successfully, Delta would have to invest alongside Air France-KLM, its European partner, due to European Union aviation rules. Sir Richard is reported to be in final negotiations to cede control to the consortium with the chance that a deal could be agreed as soon as later this week.

Yesterday, Mr Walsh, speaking in the galley of a British Airways Boeing 777 kitchen, admitted: "I've never had anything nice to say about [Virgin and Sir Richard] so I'm not going to have anything nice to say now."

Mr Walsh and Sir Richard have been sniping at each other for over a decade. In April this year the Irishman launched an attack on his rival, branding his opinions "irrelevant" and saying he had no admiration for the serial entrepreneur after Virgin appealed against the European competition regulator's approval of the takeover of BMI by IAG.

Mr Walsh went on to say: "I'm not one of [Sir Richard's] admirers. I don't see him as someone who deserves my admiration. Other people have done more in the airline industry."

The pair's feud kicked off in 2006, when a tip-off from Virgin led to competition authorities investigating British Airways for alleged price-fixing. Virgin escaped without penalty for blowing the whistle, while BA was fined £271.5m.

Meanwhile, in a big week for the airline industry, Virgin today revealed plans for domestic flights from London to Scotland and Manchester from spring next year. Aer Lingus will provide the aircraft, maintainance and crew for the flights, which will be Virgin branded.

Aer Lingus had bid to acquire the slots but has now signed a letter of intent to lease the craft and staff for the 24 domestic flights a day which will be added to Virgin's existing long-haul network.

Virgin will take up nine of the 12 daily pairs of Heathrow slots given up by BA to meet competition rules. From April Virgin will run six round-trip flights a day between Heathrow and Edinburgh, with three daily round-trip flights between Heathrow and Aberdeen. It will also switch three of its own Heathrow slots for daily round-trip services between Heathrow and Manchester.

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Travel
travelWhy Japan's love hotels are thriving through an economic downturn
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Audit Manager Central Functions

To £85,000 + banking benefits: Saxton Leigh: You will be expected to carry out...

Credit Risk Audit Manager

Up to £90,000 + benefits: Saxton Leigh: Credit Risk Audit Manager required to ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week