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Virgin Flies Into Basra, Iraq  
User currently offlineSrilankan_340 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2002, 201 posts, RR: 2
Posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 4712 times:

According to Airwise, Virgin had one of their 747's flying to Basra today, making it the first Non military Aircraft to fly into the city since 1990.

Another publicity stunt achieved. I was surprised he did not go on the plane himself.

You have to admire the man.

One of the UK airline's Boeing 747 planes carried in 60 tonnes of medical supplies, together with a volunteer medical team, to the southern Iraq city of Basra. Virgin has been assisting the British military to re-open the city's airport.

Sir Richard Branson, the airline's chairman said: "I was contacted two weeks ago by Air Marshal Brian Burridge and asked if we could send a team to Basra to help get the airport reopened and I agreed. Since then we have worked with the army and the Royal Air Force to accomplish this.

"Good aviation links will be essential for the transportation of aid relief, supplies, workers and the military. Ultimately this will lead to the resumption of trade links, the rebuilding of the Iraqi economy and government and, above all, in helping to reunite Iraqi people with friends and families across the world."

The airline has been liaising with the Government and key aid agencies to determine what sort of aid is a priority and how many flights they will require.

Virgin also says that, as soon as it is feasible, it is ready to reintroduce scheduled air services between Iraq and the UK, which have been suspended since 1990.

British Airways has also asked government permission to re-start commercial services to Iraq.


Anyone knows what the Reg No etc was?

Srilankan_340



People are often unreasonable, illogical and self- centered: Forgive them anyway - Mother Theresa
31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineCarduelis From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2001, 1586 posts, RR: 10
Reply 1, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 4528 times:

Yes, yet another publicity stunt, and he was on board with a number of media.

There is also a video attached

http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30100-12304042,00.html

However, British Airways are more likely to start regular scheduled services:-

http://www.britishairways.com/press/?source=RHG_press_en

News item from nearly two weeks ago! You have to click on 'News Releases'



[Edited 2003-05-02 17:19:38]


Per Ardua ad Astra! ........ Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense!
User currently offlineHkg82 From Hong Kong, joined Apr 2002, 1297 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 4493 times:

Richard Branson is always in the news!

Perhaps he also thinks this will favor Virgin’s chances of gaining the rights to fly to Iraq. Have any other UK carriers, besides BA & Virgin, expressed interest in starting flights to Iraq?

Hkg82.


User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16872 posts, RR: 51
Reply 3, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 4460 times:

Personally I think this was a nice gesture on the part of Branson, even if it part (small part) of the reason was to gain support for air service to Iraq.

Why can't BA and VS both serve Iraq, either grant them both access or perhaps split the frequencies.

3-4 weekly frequencies for BA and 3 to VS.

Also when commercial air service is restored to Iraq from Britain which airport will the flights operate out of, Heathrow or Gatwick?



Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlineKaitak From Ireland, joined Aug 1999, 12476 posts, RR: 34
Reply 4, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 4447 times:

Apparently the VS pilot is an Iraqi immigrant!

User currently offlineDanialanwar From Switzerland, joined Mar 2001, 421 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 4438 times:

"Richard Branson is always in the news!"
That's part of VS's advertising campaign ... its cheaper than traditional advertising and creates brand awareness more easily. Just imagine how many times Virgin is mentioned because of this is papers / news / ect around the globe - for free (well except the costs of the flights and Richard's opportunity costs)



Best Business Class: Royal Brunei. Best Economy: Singapore Airlines. First: please send money first!
User currently offlineAirchabum From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 769 posts, RR: 11
Reply 6, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 4404 times:

The a/c was G-VHOT and is due back at LHR today.

From Sky News talking about Richard Branson: "He was speaking on the runway at Basra, where his air stewardesses were mobbed by waiting British soldiers." I bet they were!!  Love



Biggidy biggidy bong
User currently offlineDavid_itl From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 7379 posts, RR: 14
Reply 7, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 4383 times:
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I'm sure the total weekly number of service BA offered prior to 1990 was 3, so it would be pointless splitting the route. It would probably be a LHR route.

David


User currently offlineHkg82 From Hong Kong, joined Apr 2002, 1297 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 4385 times:

"Why can't BA and VS both serve Iraq, either grant them both access or perhaps split the frequencies."

My thoughts exactly. What requirements would the British government take into consideration when deciding which airline or airlines will serve Iraq? Others here have said BA is favored to gain the rights. Why? Is this because BA was formerly a state-owned enterprise? Has the British government traditionally favored BA since privatization?

I fully agree Danialanwar.

Sorry for digressing from the topic!

Hkg82.


User currently offlineUN_B732 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 4289 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 4344 times:

I want to fly on Virgin! The PR stunt caught me allright.
-Transaero Boeing 737-200



What now?
User currently offlineBobrayner From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2003, 2227 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 4343 times:

Has the British government traditionally favored BA since privatization?
That's a whole new can of worms  Wink/being sarcastic

BA (and precursor airlines) definitely have a long history of flights to Iraq:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/2962221.stm

However, Virgin's charitable-act-cum-publicity-stunt will certainly turn a few heads, and I think they could implement a proper service more quickly than BA.

Impossible to be sure; if I were a gambler, I'd put about €10 on BA to be awarded the London-Baghdad route, then Virgin will get even more publicity by saying that BA only got it on the basis of a half-century-old air services agreement, old boys network, the market should be opened up to give better airlines a chance, blah blah blah  Smile




Cunning linguist
User currently offlineCarduelis From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2001, 1586 posts, RR: 10
Reply 11, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 4330 times:

HKG82

Before the Gulf War British Airways had been serving BGW for 60 years, (I even went there when I was BOAC crew in the early 60s) and does in fact have the current rights - see my previous post with link to BA site.

When Branson recovers from his current stunt, I doubt if you'll hear anymore on the subject - except, of course more utter BS and hype. He's only interested in high density, high profit routes - he's been unsuccessfully waffling on about VS flights to Australia for years!




Per Ardua ad Astra! ........ Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense!
User currently offlineSingapore_Air From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 13742 posts, RR: 19
Reply 12, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 4308 times:

Virgin Atlantic Airways - of which Singapore Airlines Pte Limited owns 49% flew a Boeing 747-400 into Basra, Iraq

“I was contacted two weeks ago by Air Marshal Brian Burridge and asked if we could send a team to Basra to help get the airport reopened and agreed. Since then we have worked with the army and the Royal Air Force to accomplish this as soon as possible and Virgin Atlantic is extremely proud to be the first airline operating a medical relief flight into Iraq. This crucial flight will deliver around 60 tonnes of much needed aid and supplies.

“Good aviation links will be essential for the transportation of aid relief, supplies, workers and the military. Ultimately this will lead to the resumption of trade links, the rebuilding of the Iraqi economy and government and, above all, in helping to reunite Iraqi people with friends and families across the world.”

“The pharmaceutical companies and a variety of medical aid organisations, from the moment we asked them to help, have been working around the clock and have supplied over £2 million of drugs and much needed hospital equipment free of charge. We are extremely grateful to them for their incredible generosity.”

Virgin has been liaising with the Government and key aid agencies to determine what sort of aid is a priority and how many flights they will require. Virgin has said that its aircraft will be available to operate a number of flights and is obviously delighted that this first flight will deliver life-saving medicines and equipment. In addition Virgin is also flying in essential medical equipment as diverse as incubators, heart defibrillators and ECG machines. Virgin has had fantastic cooperation from a wide range of pharmaceutical and medical supply companies and lists are attached of those who have generously donated supplies and the aid to be flown in on the flight.

Virgin Atlantic has previously flown to Iraq. In 1990 the airline operated a number of aid flights and the only hostage release flight from Baghdad during the first Gulf conflict. As soon as it is feasible Virgin Atlantic is ready to reintroduce scheduled air services between Iraq and the UK, which have been suspended since 1990.

More information at the Virgin Atlantic Press Releases website



Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
User currently offlineAirchabum From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 769 posts, RR: 11
Reply 13, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 4269 times:

Cardeulis

I have no doubt that VS would eventually like to fly to Baghdad as I'm sure there will be plenty of money down there once the re-development of Iraq begins and the oil starts flowing for export. Note Branson has not expressed any interest in flying to Kosovo, Kabul or anywhere else where there has been a recent war!  Wink/being sarcastic VS will fly to Australia in the not too distant future...it's just not the right time for major expansion into new markets at the moment.

As for your assertion that 'He's only interested in high density, high profit routes', do you suggest that VS concentrates on low density, low profit routes then? I can't see that being very successful! Incidentally the latest services to begin are a once weekly Gatwick-Tobago-Grenada and a twice weekly Gatwick-Port Harcourt.

Cheers



Biggidy biggidy bong
User currently offlineDC-10 Levo From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 3432 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 4214 times:

Great news that airlines might start flying into Iraq.

And, if this is a publicity stunt, who cares? It's a good thing to promote his airline.

DC-10


User currently offlineCarduelis From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2001, 1586 posts, RR: 10
Reply 15, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 4104 times:

>>>As for your assertion that 'He's only interested in high density, high profit routes', do you suggest that VS concentrates on low density, low profit routes then? I can't see that being very successful!<<<

Have another look at what you've written, and hopefully you'll realise what I'm talking about. Who mentioned concentrating on low density, low profit routes - you did - nobody else!

As for TAB and GND - they are developing holiday areas which were created, built-up, and have been served well, by BA, for many years. As far as I know Port Harcourt makes sense with good potential. Also I believe VS is starting a second LAS service. I'll believe the VS Oz flights when I see them!




Per Ardua ad Astra! ........ Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense!
User currently offlinePmcdonald From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 4057 times:

A PR stunt? Sure it was. That doesn't make it a bad deal though. I think it's great that Branson did that. If it happens to benefit Virgin, so be it.

Look at what Bush did last night (the whole landing on the carrier bit). That was a PR stunt, but (and I don't even like the guy) it seemed to come off as a success as he gave a big "Thank You" to the US troops. I'm sure that meant a lot to them.


User currently offlineAussiestu From Australia, joined Mar 2001, 780 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 4047 times:


Like has been said he has done the WAR thing before. He truelly does know how to exploit the media and this is a prime example. I truelly admire this man but if Iraq is truelly going to be served by an international carrier then it is going to be BA! Has RB said anything about reinstating his flights to Toronto and the other US route he pulled out off, sorry just a few to many sherries and i cannot remember the other US port they stopped flying too! Yes i DO like VS but RB does like his publicity.


User currently offlineAirchabum From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 769 posts, RR: 11
Reply 18, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 4033 times:

Carduelis

Ok forgive me if I've misunderstood you but I took your post to mean that Branson has no intention of operating to Baghdad as it is potentially a low profit route? As I stated above I happen to think (and presumeably Branson does too) that it will in fact turn out to be a high profit route especially bearing in mind that there is no national carrier to compete with at the moment.

Yes BA has served TAB/GND well for many years as they have with many other destinations. In fact it's very difficult for a new long haul airline to find anywhere that BA doesen't fly to! So VS will always get accused of cherry-picking  Sad

For info LAS is now served 3 times per week from LGW and we'll agree to disagree about if/when UK to Oz flts start!  Wink/being sarcastic

Cheers



Biggidy biggidy bong
User currently offlineB744 From New Zealand, joined Dec 1999, 491 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 4007 times:

True, Sir Richard Branson will gain a lot of positive PR from this gesture. Don't forget also that VS flew in a 747 to Baghdad just a few weeks before the (first) gulf war to pick-up the western hostages. Now that takes balls! Imagine gliding into Baghdad airport through a city bristling with anti-aircraft guns and probably tracking you in all the way. They brought in medical supplies etc in exchange for the hostages.


User currently offlineCanadian747 From Canada, joined Jan 2001, 197 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 3989 times:

Look folks if I would be an Airline CEO I would be more like Sir. Richard Branson you hear him in the news and I admire a CEO like that Cause It would make me feel good flying or working for a company like that rather than a company run by a dull CEO like Robert Milton.
Good Job Richard and Keep up the good work and hope you return to Canada cause I know a few sales stunt that you could pull. And also love your new paint scheme.

Canadian747


User currently offlineThrawn From British Virgin Islands, joined Mar 2002, 53 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 3934 times:

Carduelis

You seem to have a habit of knocking anything that Virgin does or says. Why do you always do this?
What Virgin has put together in the last few weeks can only be a good thing for the people of Iraq.

The flight to Basra was not just a Virgin PR stunt as you make out the Uk government paid for the aid, the fuel companies paid for the fuel and Virgin supplied the aircraft, crew and support. what did BA do to offer help.

BA do have the rights to fly there in a prior agreement but why have they not offered to help in any fashion at this present time are they putting profit before compassion?.

In a time when the industry is suffering huge losses its remarkable than one company is prepared to do something for the benefit of others.
Your beloved BA sit and do nothing and moan that its not fair.

BA and Virgin co-operate daily on a number of different aspects at a professional level and both sets of staff have a mutal respect for each other so why do some people on this website still try to bring up this Ba/Virgin divide that just does not happen amongst the staff.




User currently offlineSingapore_Air From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 13742 posts, RR: 19
Reply 22, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 3879 times:

The airport was very sandy .

I can't see the reg.

The video of it is here

Ahh!

GT?



Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
User currently offlineCarduelis From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2001, 1586 posts, RR: 10
Reply 23, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 3879 times:

Thawn and Airchabum

Thanks for your observations - some true, others created.

As a now retired airline man, having worked all over the world in many different positions including Operations, I, more than most, understand the fraternity of airline people, and will always support that special camaraderie.

I definitely am not anti VS.

I, and a lot of other people, do not like Branson. Amonst many things - when he started VS, he used the BA computerised Departure Control System. Reason for this is that BA had it set up in most areas around the world, so there were no set-up costs for Branson as BA agreed to let VS staff use the excellent existing system. After BA helping VS along the way (in more ways than I care to mention) Branson then accused BA of 'Dirty Tricks' and stealing his passengers. Anybody who knows check-in will tell you that the Passenger Name List is just that. It does not give pax contact details, is only provides info necessary for the check-in process - nothing more. There is no way to steal pax from that list which is only sent to LHRRMBA the day before departure.

Yes, BA did pay an amount of damages to Branson, but it was not for anything in the public domain, it was for something written by the Editor of the inhouse BA News that was inaccurate. Branson later had to pay a considerable amount to BA for a number of untrue statements.

All in all, RB is a PR machine, but to listen to him, it makes you wonder how he got where he is. Don't forget it was an unbiased me who put up the news link to Sky News at the beginning of the thread, as I felt it would be interesting for others on the forum. If you looked at the link and its attached video, did you really understand what the man was saying? He's always like that!

Any VS/BA knocking has always emanted from RB - and on occasions BA have responded. RB seems to relish being an 'ankle biter'!

Having never flown on VS, I can only assume that they are a Great British carrier!

Thanks for taking the time to post your comments.





Per Ardua ad Astra! ........ Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense!
User currently offlineSingapore_Air From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 13742 posts, RR: 19
Reply 24, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 3876 times:

The aircraft is... something OT or GT

G-VHOT - as in a hot Basra airport.


View Large View Medium
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Photo © Derek Pedley
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Photo © Gregory Bajor






Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
25 Airchabum : Singapore Air Yes it's G-VHOT (see reply 7)....a/c arrived back at LHR as VIR401 at 2147. Carduelis Yes I agree with you about the fraternity between
26 Airmale : So the first Middle East route for VS will be Baghdad and nort cosmopolitan places like Beirut, Cairo, Dubai or Bahrain, not even Kuwait, interesting.
27 DC-10 Levo : I can't remember if I saw 'Tinker Belle' or 'Tubular Belle' on the side of the aircraft. It's either G-VHOT or G-VBIG. DC-10
28 Airchabum : DC-10 Levo It *IS* G-VHOT!!! Honestly! (see replies #7 and #25) Take my word for it...I work for VS and I helped set up the flight. Didn't want to pos
29 Standby87 : Carduelis, There was a way to steal pax from a PNL. For Virgin Upper Class pax, who had free limo transfers to the airport, their home or business pho
30 Carduelis : Good to hear from a professional, Standby87 Yes, I agree, but only a very small amount from the PNL From memory, only Reservations 4 APFAX were transf
31 Standby87 : Thanks for the memories and the compliments Carduelis. You're quite right about 4 APFAX and the endorsements. Allegedly BA just took VS coupons withou
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