Birth of Virgin Atlantic
The following speech by Richard Branson (at the 4th Madhavrao Scindia Memorial Lecture) proves my point; the situation he found himself in could have been that of ANYONE of us, in fact, there were a number of people who were in the same situation. Only, he decided to look for a solution.
“In ’79, when Joan, my fiancee and I were on a holiday in the British Virgin Islands, we were trying to catch a flight to Puerto Rico; but the local Puerto Rican scheduled flight was cancelled. The airport terminal was full of stranded passengers. I made a few calls to charter companies and agreed to charter a plane for $2000 to Puerto Rico. Cheekily leaving out Joan’s and my name, I divided the price by the remaining number of passengers, borrowed a blackboard and wrote: VIRGIN AIRWAYS: $39 for a single flight to Puerto Rico. I walked around the airport terminal and soon filled every seat on the charter plane. As we landed at Puerto Rico, a passenger turned to me and said: “Virgin Airways isn’t too bad – smarten up the services a little and you could be in business.”
That, my friends, is how VIRGIN ATLANTIC began. Can you believe it? A mad hatter’s flight was cancelled, and look what he came up with.
He goes on to add:
“When VA was launched in ’84, not one person thought it would survive for more than a year. The bosses of these 13 big American airlines that we competed with said we’d fail. Now 21 years later, all 13 of them are out of business.”