Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic brand could soon become a thing of the past. Branson’s carrier is set to become the latest name to be swept away in the wave of aviation consolidation.
British Airways and Iberia boss Willie Walsh said that Virgin Atlantic is likely to be put down by US giant Delta. Delta is now in talks to buy a stake of 49pc in the UK carrier from Singapore Airlines. There are possibilities that a decision might come as soon as this week.
The European partners of Delta, Air France KLM, are expected to buy a part of Sir Richard’s 51 pc holding in the trans Atlantic airline. The airline was set up in the year 1984. Walsh argued that Delta’s main interest in Virgin can be the prized Heathrow take off and landing slots.
He said, “I can’t see Delta wanting to operate the Virgin brand, because if they do, what does that say about the Delta brand?” Delta believes that they are the number one airlines in the world so they would like to acquire the slots at Heathrow to enable them to have a strong presence at Heathrow. The shut down of Virgin Atlantic brand could even result in the overshadow of the unveiling of its short haul business on December 10, 2012.