N863DA From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 48 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (12 years 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 2060 times:
SKyTrain went out of business in 1982. They had previously flown DC-10 (-10s) and A300s in the "SkyTrain" role. He also had a few DC-10-30s toward the end of the life of the airline.
In essence, the reason why Laker & Branson were such good friends in the 1980s (and hence why a VS 747 was named, "Spirit of Sir Freddie") was because BA succeeded doing to Laker what they attempted to do to VS; they undercut prices (and could afford to make a loss), in order to force Laker out of the routes (and hence, the air). Laker gave Branson a big boost in advising on the formation of British Atlantic (later Virgin Atlantic) and so for a while, until Laker started up again in the latter half of the 1990s (see below), they were good friends.
In the mid-90s, Laker then attempted a different strategy - flying DC-10-30s (based in FLL) to LGW and MAN, using "Regal Class" service - leather seats, etc. and "bone china," etc. with good service, but in an economy (3-4-3) layout on the DC-10. Service was "luxury," including PTVs, etc. but did not feature a First or Business class service or anything.
(I am aware that DC-10s are usually 2-5-2, but Laker, for both his attempts, laid them out in a 3-4-3 configuration).
ETA Unknown From Comoros, joined Jun 2001, 2189 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (12 years 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 2014 times:
A slightly different perspective- Laker thought the rival European airlines wouldn't (or shouldn't be allowed to) charge his low fares. Of course, there's nothing preventing them from doing this- and they did.
Unfortunately, Laker's service was a little too successful, any many passengers bought USA-LGW tickets and then bought separate LON-beyond tickets to their final European destination. Once the likes of AF/KL/LH/SK (maybe not SN- they were a basket case) etc. caught on to what was happening, they in turn lowered their fares which made transiting LON not so attractive.
If you can't take the heat, then get out of the kitchen!
Ducker From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 137 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (12 years 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 1994 times:
Maybe a partial explanation was the expansion into the A300 and DC-10-30's. This was a financial drain to Laker. I think that these planes were financed when the exchange rate was $1.75/£, but by 1982, the rate was $2.25/£, which cost many more $ in debt service, while BA undercut them on price, draining more capital.