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Sir Richard Branson slams Qantas, "running scared" of competition

By David Flynn     Filed under: qantas, Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Australia

Sir Richard Branson has come out swinging against Qantas, saying the Australian flag-carrier is running scared of competition and likening it to a "headmaster's favourite telling on the naughty boys". Ouch!

Writing on the website of his Virgin empire this weekend, Branson congratulated Virgin Australia "for the numbers of people you carried in the last 12 months".

That's in reference to a report – quickly contested by Qantas – that the challenger airline had for the first time ever pulled ahead of Qantas in the number of passengers flown around Australia, in the 12 months to May 31 this year.

"No wonder the Chief Executive of Qantas has gone to the press saying Qantas may go bankrupt if Virgin continue to make the moves we are doing" Branson wrote.

That one's a nod to The Sydney Morning Herald revelation that "Qantas management is warning the airline could 'go under' if the state-owned Etihad is allowed to buy enough of a share of Virgin Australia to allow it to start undercutting Qantas on its profitable domestic routes."

"It’s like the headmaster's favourite telling on the naughty boys" Branson chortles.

"Perhaps we all need to stand up to Qantas and tell them that previous Governments have already tilted the playing field in their direction and that we don't like sneaks and goody-two shoes, so now they should just get on and play.

"And if they get their clothes muddy in the process they should accept that a bit of healthy competition is good for all."

Like we said earlier... ouch!

Sir Richard Branson also recommends* that you follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter @AusBT.

*Not really

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About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

 

Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 8/7/12 by AaronBradford

A rather cheeky postscript you have there ;) 

2 on 8/7/12 by ryanm27

He's right but, Qantas is running scared from taking on the compeition. Need a bit more guts and determination rather than just rolling over to the demands of their rivals and complaining about it.

3 on 8/7/12 by Kleenlex

I like flying Qantas, I hope it doesn't go burst. (Qantas's inflight catering really is quite tasty)

4 on 8/7/12 by Al

Well I have long abandoned Qanats for Virgin Australia on domestic flights but I understand where Qanats is coming from and I agree with them, in that Qantas should be under the same arrangements for overseas companies having a share in them as Virgin is.

I believe that under the Govt's Qantas Sale Act Qantas has a much lower level of foreign ownership allowed. That's not a level playing field and it gives them another excuse to squeal 'unfair, unfair' even when that part at least is justified.

Qantas should be allowed to have the same level of overseas ownership as Virgin, regardless if that means Qantas having more overseas ownership to match Virgin's allowance or Virgin have their overseas ownership limits tightened to match what Qantas has now.

5 on 9/7/12 by AusFlyer

I agree with Al in that Qantas are not on a level playing field as Virgin.

I don't agree that Qantas are "running scared" but it does have to be said that Virgin have come in all guns blazing. I still stand by the view that it is easy for Virgin to do that because they have come from a level of offering next to nothing, so they make it look like they are doing so much when in fact they are only offering what was already offered on Qantas (eg. lounges, business class).

My experience of the Virgin products (and I've tried Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia and Virgin America) is that they are good... but nothing more or less than Qantas. So I don't understand what's so good about them and I haven't migrated to them like sheep.

6 on 9/7/12 by am

WOW hypocricy much! Is this the same Sir Richard Branson who has publically campaigned against every single move BA has made since the 1980's?

I would argue that SRB's statements are what is anticompetitive here, lobbying for a continuation of the unfair playing field that exists at the moment. If he's not afraid of competition, then he will welcome the removal of the Sales Act?

7 on 9/7/12 by Daniell

What a hypocrite.

Branson, with his Govt subsidised train network in the UK. And crying about bully BA at every opportunity. 

Have a look at Skytrax. Virgin Atlantic downgraded to a 3 star airline and the most appalling ratings around. Then compare Qantas' ratings. Seems to me he should concentrate on fixing his own brand in the UK.

8 on 11/7/12 by airandspace

This is just head games coming from Branson. If you don't adapt to changing business circumstances then you will go under or stuggle (eg: most retail businesses). Qantas is simply adapting, in my opinion it's left it too late. I actually prefer to fly with Virgin and think overall their service is better.

 

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