Letters: A missive from Sir Richard Branson

This letter appears in the Monday 14th October edition of the Independent

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The Independent Online

Virgin’s Little Red is no failure

Virgin is a challenger brand. Throughout the history of our different companies we have always been proud to challenge the status quo. This was true of Virgin Atlantic and our single plane 29 years ago, and it is true of our domestic service Little Red today.

Your article “Virgin ‘losing millions’ after domestic flights venture fails to take off” (11 October) on the performance of Little Red speculates on loss figures which are hugely overstated. But more than that – the piece misses the point.

Little Red is a British business giving a better deal to British passengers. On routes where previously customers in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester had a “choice” of one, there is now a strong alternative and we are shaking up a monopoly market. Little Red has brought down average fares on these routes, has grown the domestic travel market, and created jobs around the UK.

Despite a difficult time for all in the British economy we have continued to grow and launched Little Red to provide choice for passengers domestically in the way we have on our long-haul flights. We are doing so with a full service, a great schedule and as your article points out, at exceptionally good value for money. Passengers have responded well and the feedback we’ve had is that people love flying Little Red. Bookings are growing steadily with passengers from around the globe connecting on to Little Red flights.

Virgin Atlantic has been on an incredible journey over the last three decades. Little Red is just beginning its journey – we hope and believe that passengers will come on that journey with us and that they will enjoy the ride.

Sir Richard Branson, Manor Royal  West Sussex