In the long term I would expect Branson to start up Virgin Pacific with 2 or 3 routes: Sydney-Hong Kong, Sydney-Los Angeles and Sydney-Dubai. From the other direction, there'd be London-LA, London-Hong Kong, London-Dubai operated by Virgin Atlantic. The two would be separate entities but operate a codeshare (luggage transfer etc, and each plane would wait for the other etc).
That way, the "picking up pax in Hong Kong for Sydney" thing would be no problem. It would be 2 separate airlines, no cabotage rights required.
Ok, pure fantasizing (halluscinating, whatever you want to call it), but what I'd love to see would be:
2003 Virgin Blue starts a subsidiary, Pacific Blue, which operates to New Zealand
2003 Virgin announces order for 10 744ER and 15 737-700, with some options
2004 Virgin Atlantic operates their first flights to Sydney via Hong Kong or Singapore
2004 American Blue (or Virgin America) starts operations with 737s, taking up as many of UA's routes (post UA's collapse) as they can. They grow quicker than Virgin Blue
2005 Virgin Atlantic begin scheduled operations into Baghdad
2005 Virgin Blue gains international rights to Hong Kong and the USA for its Pacific Blue subsidiary, starting 2006
2005 Virgin Atlantic reopen Chicago and Toronto
2006 Virgin America orders 757s and 737s to grow quickly
2006 Pacific Blue renamed Virgin Pacific receives 4 ex-VS A340s and starts operations to Hong Kong LAX. The A343s are replaced by 744ERs
2007 Dubai gets started jointly by Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Pacific
2007 Virgin Atlantic add Vancouver and Mexico City
2008 The codeshare agreements between Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Pacific and Virgin Blue become an alliance with full cooperation (i.e. luggage transfers, Frequent Flyer Miles on Atlantic & Pacific that can also be redeemed (but not collected) on Blue and America and, if it still exists by then, Express).
2009 Virgin Atlantic grow in Africa
2009 Virgin Pacific connect up to South Africa, SFO and Tokyo. By now all the A343s are at Virgin Pacific
2010 Virgin announces intentions for next order, becomes launch customer of 7E7 for opening new hubs (say, Manchester, Brussels (post-collapse of SN Brussels Airways), Zurich (post-collapse of Swiss) and Auckland), as well as ordering extra A380s and 737s
2012 Singapore Airlines exits Star and joins Virgin Alliance, renaming themselves into Virgin Sing
just kidding on that one
Not likely, huh? It's what this particular armchair-general would be aiming for, were I in Branson's shoes...
[Edited 2003-08-12 19:43:54]