It is true, Virgin might not have started had Laker survived.
Virgin was never the same sort of airline as Laker. But there are obviously similarities, such as both being based at Gatwick, initially, and building up a trans-Atlantic route structure. Both airlines have (or had) larger-than-life leaders (both Sirs, I might add!).
Like I said before, if Laker Airways had survived, it would most likely have had to resemble something like today's VS
. We'll never know if they would have operated the 747 - oh well.
One more note: I think the grounding of Laker's DC10s in 1979 or 1980 also contributed to its demise. I was 7 in 1980, so forgive me if my facts are not straight, but I believe the temporary grounding was the beginning of the end. Maybe the writing was on the wall and it would have happened anyway, but I recall the grounding spelled huge trouble for Laker. The grounding was the result of the terrible AA
DC10 crash in Chicago O'Hare, still one of the USA's worst crashes.
As a youngster, I do recall seeing Laker's idle DC10s lined up in LGW
about 1982 or so. I guess some of them were stored there about a year, but even though the titles were removed, it was obvious who their previous owners were!