Will it be enough to save Virgin Airways?
Richard Branson spoke out against the merger last week, criticising the two organisations for skewing market share figures: “Where are BA’s missing millions?” he asked the crowd at the campaign press conference. “BA and American Airlines can run but they can’t hide their true passenger numbers. “The US Government’s own data shows that BA and AA have a much larger and more dominant market share than they are leading us to believe. The regulators and the public need to look carefully at BA and AA’s numbers and take account of the millions of passengers missing from their filings.” This campaign not only affects other airlines. Consumers too could fall victim to price fixing and market saturation. BA and AA already own over 60 per cent of the air travel market. This move could spell the end for independent carriers. “With so many passengers, both BA and AA are able to use their dominance to ensure they have pricing power on transatlantic and other routes,” warns Branson. “They can strong arm travel agents into recommending BA flights, as they’ve been fined for doing in the past, even though BA/AA would be more expensive. “Corporate customers would also be pressured into signing deals because of the scale of BA and AA’s network. BA/AA would have a stranglehold on key routes out of Heathrow and on domestic routes both in Europe and the US.” Branson is painting the slogan No Way BA/AA on all of the Virgin aircraft in a bid to garner support for the campaign. To watch a video of his impassioned speech to the industry, click here. One thing’s for sure, the Virgin boss is not going to take this threat lying down. “We’re absolutely determined to try and stop it,” he vowed.