"He is also eyeing the potential for Virgin airlines in Brazil and Russia, but one of his long-held ambitionsis to attach short-haul operations to Virgin Atlantic. "I would love to do that, but I can't get the slots," Branson says. "Maybe, one day, something might happen between Virgin and BMI to give us the short-haul fleet. Some sort of integration of the two airlines would make sense." He is evasive about whether negotiations are underway with BMI's future majority owner: "If I were talking with Lufthansa, I wouldn't be allowed to talk about it, and if we weren't, I'd have nothing to talk about," he teases."
After reading this, I still wonder whether there is room for Virgin to fly short haul within Europe from LHR. Even though they'd do better than BD has, in my view the low fare carriers have eaten the intra-Europe market up so much that it would be tough to strike enough of a wedge between them and BA. Now with open skies, I actually see VS having more of a future flying long-haul from other EU countries.
SunriseValley From Canada, joined Jul 2004, 4344 posts, RR: 5 Reply 5, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 7066 times:
Quoting OP3000 (Thread starter): "I would love to do that, but I can't get the slots," Branson says.
I assume he is referring to LHR. A convenient scapegoat in my view. SRB is being somewhat disengenuous. There are at least three other airports surrounding London. What is wrong with LCY , Porter have proved that there is good shorthaul business from close-in airports such as YTZ. You don't need jets, just quality of service and schedules that work....period.
If he is serious about taking on BA here is his opportunity.
WROORD From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 886 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 7042 times:
I think LGW would be a better choice than LHR. Some of their long-haul flights originate there. Also, with some national carriers close to extinction, or being bought and reduced to feeder airliners. I think there is additional room for a good quality service in EU. Something like Virgin America or JetBlue offers in US. Not sure if a hub network would be the best, but there are plenty of prime routes still open and not operated by anyone.
OyKIE From Norway, joined Jan 2006, 2647 posts, RR: 4 Reply 8, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 6763 times:
I believe that they could succeed if they can distinguish their marketing from Ryanair and other low cost operators. They need to be very competitive on a cost base, but I would prefer to fly on Virgin Europe any day before I would fly Ryanair. If they could offer a great upper class as well they will succeed.
Dream no small dream; it lacks magic. Dream large, then go make that dream real - Donald Douglas
SurfandSnow From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 2738 posts, RR: 31 Reply 10, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 6725 times:
They succeeded in Australia/Oceania and have been well-received here in the U.S. (can't say they are doing well just yet though) so I'm sure they could do well on intra-European runs. Of course, operational constraints from LHR make this much more a pipedream than a conceivable reality. Maybe when that 3rd runway opens, but probably not before then
Flying in the middle seat of coach is much better than not flying at all!
BCAL From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 3384 posts, RR: 18 Reply 11, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 6585 times:
Quoting Shankly (Reply 2): SRB playing little airline thinks its a big airline game again.
Just what would SRB offer for an European short-haul service even if he could get the slots? There is no room for more LCCs in the European short-haul market and people do not associate the Virgin brand with the LCC module. He tried it before with Virgin Express (at one time SRB boasted this would become Europe's largest airline) and failed.
If he is planning to offer something similar to Virgin America, unlike the US where the service and fares on the the legacy carriers is generally appalling, in Europe some legacy carriers still offer good service and competitive prices. Virgin's past successes in civil aviation have festered on the corpses of defunct carriers - Ansett in Australia and British Caledonian in UK to quote two examples. There is no corpse to fester on in Europe.
Nothing would happen between VS and BMI. Apart from the fact that there is no love lost between SRB and SMB, why would LH want to benefit VS. In any event VS would have to expand its long-haul from a 35 aircraft fleet to +70 aircraft fleet to offer anything remotely similar to the frequency schedules of BA at LHR.
It would be against the odds that Virgin could suceeed in going short-haul. There is a better chance of FR deciding that they now have too many supplementary charges and scrapping every one.
Just like Michael O'Leary quoted on SRB, "He's like a little chihuahua barking at a dying labrador. Nobody cares!" Only this time the labrador is not BA but the European legacy airlines.
MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
Bralo20 From Belgium, joined May 2008, 610 posts, RR: 0 Reply 12, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 6516 times:
Quoting John (Reply 1): Didn't they already try that with BRU based Virgin Express, which has now merged with Brussels Airlines...??
Back in 1996 Virgin started Virgin Express (TV), the BRU based "low cost" subsidiary of Virgin. In 2004 Virgin Express merged with SN Brussels Airlines which would become Brussels Airlines in 2007. It had a fleet of 5 B733's and 5 B734's. During the peak they had 22 aircrafts operating for VEX.
Slinky09 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2009, 681 posts, RR: 0 Reply 14, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 6462 times:
Quoting BCAL (Reply 11): Nothing would happen between VS and BMI. Apart from the fact that there is no love lost between SRB and SMB, why would LH want to benefit VS
SMB is quite out of the frame now having finally agreed a price with LH. Would LH want to benefit VS - maybe not but perhaps selling part of BMI to VS would make sense for them? LH already had more slots at LHR than VS and my reading between the lines says they would have walked from buying BMI if they could.
Would VS stand any better chance of making BMI work ... maybe, it's a crowded market, price is key, I think they'd have to rebrand very similar to VX and interior refit in the same manner. Not cheap.
Quoting OyKIE (Reply 8): I assme He would want to fly LHR to feed with the vast majority of Virgin Atlantic flights.
Flying shorthaul from LGW or LCY just would not make any sense.
Absolutely. Or wait for the third runway if that ever happens (I can't believe the Tories and their promise to scrap it, way out of touch people) - more likely VS will get some of BMI first?
Quoting OP3000 (Thread starter): After reading this, I still wonder whether there is room for Virgin to fly short haul within Europe from LHR.
Back to the OP, yes. Virgin have shown it can work in Aus, VX is getting many plundits albeit it's been strafed by just about everybody and is operating in a terrible business climate. Feeding the long haul network - isn't that what every other long route airline wants to do?
Because LH and its European could feed traffic into LHR from Europe. While BMI feeds traffic into LHR from around the UK - Leaving the great bearded one to fly them out over the Atlantic.
Such a threesome between LH, BD and VS has been discussed for years. Indeed much of the cost cutting at VS over the last few years could have been to make the VS operation much healthier and hence attractive to a potential suitor to promote such a tie up.
We'd like to welcome in particular our Executive Club members and those joining us from our Oneworld alliance partners.
Kiwiandrew From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 8442 posts, RR: 14 Reply 18, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 6320 times:
Quoting Racko (Reply 17): The EU is already giving LH a very hard time just with the AUA takeover, there's no way a LH-BD-VS "threesome" would go through.
but that is because there is a lot of overlap with other LH group members eg VIE-BRU ( SN and OS ) , VIE-GVA ( OS and LX ) , VIE-FRA (OS and LH ) , VIE-MUC ( OS and LH ) etc .
What specific routes would VS overlap on with any of the current LH 'family' - none as far as I can see .
on the topic of VS competing on shorthaul ... why would they want to and in the current environment do they have the money to take on a completely new venture ? IMHO , the only way you will see Virgin enter/re-enter European shorthaul is if a VS/BD combo goes ahead .
Moderation in all things ... including moderation ;-)
Gemuser From Australia, joined Nov 2003, 5457 posts, RR: 6 Reply 19, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 6294 times:
Of course he COULD! He has shown in Oz & USA that he has the formula to do it, he now needs to get all the pieces into place. Yes that will be hard in the specific conditions of the GFC, EU & LHR, but there are answers, all it takes is knowledge, guts & money. The real question is it worth it, for anybody?
Quoting BCAL (Reply 11): Virgin's past successes in civil aviation have festered on the corpses of defunct carriers - Ansett in Australia
That's a pretty simplistic view. Shortly after the Oz domestic market was deregulated we had four domestic players, QF, AN, DJ & Impulse. QF was in strong shape after a very sound privatisation, with the most comprehensive network. AN was well established, with a comprehensive domestic network & a developing international network. Impulse was a local regional carrier moving into the big league. Virgin was the flamboyant, pommey new comer, fronted by the unique SRB, but lead by local boy Godfrey.
Many, many things happened in the melee that followed including the internal rotting of AN, an offer to sell DJ to Impulse, countered by an offer to sell Impulse to DJ, before agreement on price was reached QF made an offer for Impulse that was accepted and AN went bankrupt. It was all too complex to dismiss as DJ to "have festered on the corpses of defunct carriers". Yes SRB was lucky, so was Impulse's owner (he got a good price from QF), AN was hard done by, by its owners and QF sailed on.
SRB COULD do the same in Europe, but if it would be worthwhile, I don't know.
Candid76 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2005, 728 posts, RR: 4 Reply 20, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 6287 times:
I'm not sure what LH would have to gain from feeding VS at LHR. Would they not be better off feeding their own hubs? bmi already feeds Star long haul services from the key UK airports, which I doubt is to their benefit as they must get very little of the revenue. VS is not part of Star, and even if they joined I still don't understand why it would be in the interest of LH and bmi to feed VS.
As SRB seems to have the same myopic view of the UK market as everyone else, maybe he should remember that he has a presence at MAN that he could develop. The cost structure at LHR doesn't lend itself to short haul operations on a profitable basis.
COEI2007 From Vanuatu, joined Jan 2007, 1912 posts, RR: 6 Reply 22, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 6031 times:
Establishing a short-haul network ex LHR for VS would be suicide. Unless they get hold or BD's short-haul network, it wont happen. Nearly every route ex LHR that VS short-haul would serve would have competition from BA, or a flag carrier like LH, IB etc
Rutankrd From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 2363 posts, RR: 4 Reply 24, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 6020 times:
How many more times with the UK APU tax, Transit visa requirements on Russian/Serbians/Ukrainian etc..and excessive security measures that results minimum 3 hour transit times combined with the nightmare of LHR terminal changes.
Add the FACT that VS remains outside *A why on earth would LH group choose to route any TALC traffic from European mainline points away from FRA/MUC or even Zurich?
Same goes for Air China. ANA, South African, Thai and Singapore and even Air India - all these *A have better connections at FRA than LHR.
No *A operations are of the Focus City type at LHR and really London bound O&D (Good for that) with bmi operating a small regional feed to a few UK/Ireland Points.
As an added bonus bmi have also been able to interline with some of the smaller non aligned operators the likes of Gulf Air and Royal Brunei
I expect this to remain the case.
After some network evaluation i see bmi (LHuK) middle east and central Asia route network to be further rationalized, I actually see the A332s being removed and LH having some LHR slot lease pairs available for hand back to BA and Cash trading !
25 APYu: Rutankrd So if VS were to join Star and the Star alliance have single terminal ops two of your biggest issues would make it a possibility. (OK it does
26 Babybus: I have a feeling that VS is within 10yrs of the end of its product lifecycle. I haven't heard anyone boast about flying them, indeed I hear the opposi
27 Shankly: Babybus, thanks for also acknowledging the Emperors new clothes I was at a tube station today and, as you do, looked at various adverts including, on
28 COEI2007: VS led the way by being something new and different. Airlines have caught up with them, especiall Middle-Eastern carriers! I think they need to reall
29 Brilondon: This is my thought exactly and they sold off to SN Brussels because he did not make enough money at it, or he would still be doing it today. They sho
30 OP3000: Keep in mind that London has a lot more O/D to/from the Middle East than FRA. In fact there's a few of those flights which could be run out of LGW to
31 Avek00: VS never really "led the way" in the marketplace. Rather, the airline made effective use of gimmicks to attract pax in the (then-) restricted markets
32 Bongodog1964: What's the difference between Michael jackson and a 787 ?. Michael is soaring up to meet the angels,the 787 is descending to hell !!!! The thing with
33 Brilondon: So what. Obviously I did not make it clear in my post I was talking about LH NOT BA. I am talking about changing planes flying form North America. Wh
34 Slinky09: Not so sure about that - onboard bars, in flight beauty therapists, AVOD, world-leading lounges, the first flat beds in business all aisle accessible
35 Bongodog1964: AVOD never appeared on the LGW or MAN routes, it was promised, but was scrapped to save money. The beauty therapists also disappeared in an economy d
36 APYu: Others would say the VS bed is better and the onboard bar is fabulous!
37 OP3000: I have another question that just came to mind about VS which I'll throw in: Given open skies, could VS have success in launching service from cities
38 BCAL: It was only 2 years ago that VS boasted as soon as Open Skies took effect VS could be flying from European cities to the US Reuters Like many of VS's