Richard Branson can usually grin his way out of any PR difficulty from broken-down trains to failed business ventures and still end up with positive headlines.
The Virgin founder's conversion to all things green has seen him declare that he will from now on only buy twin-engined airliners, depsite the fact that the entire 38-strong Virgin Atlantic fleet has four engines, and the airline has six A380s on order.
Only five years ago, at the Farnborough air show, Virgin flew in an A340-600, emblazoned with the slogan "4 engines 4 long haul", the spin being that you'd rather have three spare if one spluttered out over the North Atlantic or Sahara ... presumably avoiding the need to have to make a U-turn.
Our current Question of the Week on flightglobal asks whether you think his change of heart is the right decision.
The count is pretty split at the moment - 50% vs 50% the last time I looked, but what's driving your opnion?
Have your say ...
He has the rights to say whatever he wants, because, as clearly stated, it's simple Airbus+Virgin PR stunt on the A340-600.
Whether Branson is flamboyant or serious or not, he still have the rights to change tune. In fact, who doesn't change their thoughts on all issues as time changes?
Personally, I'm much happier flying a four-engined plane, but engineering-wise, I believe a twin is superior as it has:
The new generation of high-bypass engines makes twin-engined long-haulers a very feasible reality.
But, if I were ever to fly transatlantic, I'ld be very disappointed if I were to find a 757, 767 or A330 at the gate... I still remember my rides on 4-engined beasts... Boeing 707s and 720s, and for an aviation buff, seeing those engines on the wings made you feel you were on something special.
Branson is more of a businessman than anything else, but he's showing corporate social responsabliity by going for more economic aircraft... which ultimately also makes business sense. I admire the guy's guts to withdraw from his previous position to assume a more public-friendly position.
I have to agree that it all comes down to public perception and social responsibility; something that Richard Branson is extremely good at!!!