Wisdom From Books

Virgin Airways – how was the idea conceived?

Posted on: December 18, 2009

Cover page - Richard Branson's autobiography

Cover page - Richard Branson's autobiography

Why Mr. Richard Branson decided to start an airline?

It is an interesting story.

Mr. Branson and his wife intended to travel to Puerto Rico from an island where they were spending their holiday. When they reached air port, they learnt: Flight is cancelled.!!!! What would people go when flight is cancelled? Wait? Go Back? Say this, Say that?

Here is what Mr. Branson did.

He ‘chartered’ a plane for 2,000 Pounds and divided to number of travellers who were on the same flight. Cost per passenger came to 39 pounds. Mr. Branson borrowed a black board and wrote: VIRGIN AIR WAYS: FLY TO PUERTO RICO – GBP 39 per person!

The idea of Virgin air ways was born… That too, in middle of a holiday trip.

Lesson: Open mind leads you to ideas which can help you develop a business.

The only air line operating in Britain in early 1980s was British Air Ways. No one dared to open an air line as an alternative. But Richard Branson took initiative. In 1984, he ‘leased’ two air crafts and started Virgin Air Line.

Prior to this, Sir Freddie Laker started his air line but was unsuccessful due to attitude of British Air ways. Mr. Branson engaged him for advice.

Lesson two: Engage experts. People who have experience and learn from them.

Sir Laker told Branson: Dirty tricks of British Air ways ruined me. Don’t let them ruin you. Complain as loudly as you can.

As the story goes: Virgin Air line sued British Air ways later on their dirty trick and won the case…..

Virgin Atlantic celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2009. It was not at all an easy start. Here is a small clip related to Virgin Atlantic. Enjoy

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