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Virgin Airlines Introduction

Virgin Atlantic is a British airline that is jointly owned by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Singapore Airlines. The control centre is in Crawley, West Sussex, in England. Randolph formed British Atlantic Airways once Laker Airways had collapsed in 1982. Field worked together with Alan Hellary a former chief pilot from Laker Airways and together they developed the ideas for the airline. Field and Hellary attempted to get a license from Gatwick to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York but it was denied in 1983, when British Airways, British Caledonian and BAA objected.

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They then tried flying between Gatwick and Newark Liberty International Airport. The two had plans to use a 380-seat DC that would fly to Newark, but the deal did not set off. They also realized that it was quite expensive and therefore planned to look for more money before going on. (Gregory 2000, p.512)

Fields then got together with Richard Branson and they decided to become partners. They came to a compromise and the name was changed to Virgin Atlantic with Fields being its first chairperson. As the years went on, there arose differences on how the airline was supposed to run. These differences led to Fields leaving the company after he was paid one million dollars. The High Court also ruled that he was supposed to be paid more money from Virgin’s initial dividends and the payments were done.

A short while after the two parted ways, Fields died of cancer complications. Virgin Atlantic started its first scheduled journey from Gatwick to Newark in 1984, using a rented Boeing 747-200, which belonged to Aerolineas Argentinas. They were able to make profit in the first year with the help of Virgin Records thus leasing another Boeing 747. The following year, they made much more profits between June and September. (Plunkett 2005, p.525)

The company had a new Boeing 747 in 1986, and began flying from Gatwick to Miami. In the following years, the company purchased more planes something that enabled them to initiate flights from Gatwick to New York in 1988. The company began making flights to Tokyo in 1989, to Los Angeles in 1990, to Boston in 1991 and Orlando in 1992. In 1987, there were flights going to Luton and Dublin through Viscount Turbo Prop airplane.

These flights were cancelled in the 1990s since they were unprofitable. Other fights were using Club Air two Boeing 727 under Virgin license in 1988. They were from Eastern Airlines to fly from Luton to Dublin. The 1990s saw these flights being cancelled due to financial constraints. Virgin Atlantic has a CAA Type A operating License for passengers, cargo transport and mail. (Gregory 2000, p.518)

In 2000, Virgin Group sold 49 percent of the airline company to Singapore Airline. They were left with 51 percent of the airline and in the same year, they became the first airway to use Airbus A340-600. They continued to grow rapidly and in 2003, they had served close to 3.8 million passengers. In 2006, this number increased to 4.6 million making them very competitive in the United Kingdom. In 2005, Virgin Atlantic was in the forefront in delivering humanitarian help to Pakistan.

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This was in assistance to many people who had been affected by a huge earthquake. In 2008, Virgin Atlantic offered their Boeing 747 for an experiment on the use of biofuels. The airplane flew from Heathrow all the way to Amsterdam without any passengers. They later said they had plans to use biofuels that were made of algae. The airline is making a significant mark in the United Kingdom and growing rapidly. (Shinkokai1995)

References List

Gregory, M, 2000, Dirty Tricks: British Airways’ Secret War against Virgin Atlantic, Ed, New York: Virgin. Pp. 502-536.

Plunkett, W, 2005, Plunkett’s biotech & genetics industry almanac, plunkett Research Ltd, pp. 512-560.

Shinkokai, B, 1995, Focus Japan, Japan External Trade Organization, University of California, Vol 22.

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