Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, a minority owner of Virgin America airlines, doesn’t think much of the legal proceeding that has the airline’s chief rival at DFW Airport, American Airlines, in bankruptcy court. Even so, the billionaire businessman doubts whether American’s Chapter 11 filing will affect Virgin America much.
“One of the problems in America is something called Chapter 11,” Branson (pictured) said today in Dallas after appearing at a fundraiser for The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He noted that airlines including United, Delta, and Continental all preceded American in seeking bankruptcy protection, enabling them to “screw their creditors” and come out with more efficient operations. “If you got rid of Chapter 11 in this country, when a company goes bust, it would be like an old tree. It would [die off] and leave room for younger airlines to come up…
“Virgin America in Dallas is a great airline,” Branson went on. He said VA has added a third daily flight from DFW to both Los Angeles and San Francisco, is running 80 percent load factors here, and “is profitable” on its Dallas routes. As for American’s difficulties, “We’ll have to see if Chapter 11 affects” Virgin America, Branson added. “I doubt it will make enough of a difference one way or the other.”
Photo credit: Jeanne Prejean