Sir Richard hit again at British Airways boss Willie Walsh after the demise of a Virgin Atlantic UK service, and suggested his rival to placed on a pair of his “strongest trousers”. The billionaire and face of Virgin described Virgin Atlantic as a “better known” and “more respected” world model than British Airways, which might be round for an additional 40 years. He jokingly referred to an notorious guess made by Mr Walsh, boss of British Airways’ father or mother firm International Consolidated Airlines Group, when US airline Delta bought a 49 % stake in Virgin Atlantic in 2012.
Mr Walsh guess his rival a “knee in the groin” that Virgin Atlantic would disappear inside a number of years and claimed Delta referred to as the pictures.
Speaking in Atlanta following the inaugural flight of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner from Heathrow to the US metropolis, Mr Branson stated: “It’s fairly flattering that Willie Walsh spends a lot time speaking about his smaller competitor.
“Two and a half years in the past, after we signed up with Delta, he stated he needed to put down a problem which was a kick within the groin that the model wouldn’t exist 5 years after signing. We’ve now obtained simply two and a half years to run.
“So all I’d say is that he ought to be testing his strongest trousers he can find to protect his…well you know what he’s called.”
The gentle feedback underlined a protracted operating feud between the rivals, which flared up once more in the identical month when Virgin introduced it could shut the Little Red UK flight community subsequent 12 months.
Just earlier than Virgin pulled the plug on Little Red, Mr Walsh declared he was “delighted” the home airline had been struggling to fill flights and that his prediction the enterprise would flop was proved appropriate.
The unwell feeling between Sir Richard and Mr Walsh was additionally excessive in 2009, when the Virgin Atlantic founder stated the federal government should not bailout British Airways, which was struggling on the time.
A Virgin Spokesperson instructed Express.co.uk final month: “The present world disaster is unprecedented, impacting households, livelihoods and companies in a extreme and unparalleled method – it’s a wholly completely different set of circumstances to these in 2009.
“The actuality is that many airways around the globe, together with Virgin Atlantic, now want authorities help and lots of have already obtained it.
“Virgin Atlantic’s help can be within the type of a industrial mortgage and it could be paid again.
“Virgin Atlantic has a protracted historical past of delighting its prospects and providing a lot wanted selection and competitors that considerably advantages the UK economic system.”
This week, Sir Richard has bought over £400million’s price of shares in Virgin Galactic to avoid wasting his different companies, together with Virgin Atlantic.