Not content with throwing the Virgin brand behind a string of airlines, a radio station, a media company and even cola, Sir Richard Branson is now reported to be mulling a bid for London’s Gatwick Airport as part of a consortium.
The UK’s Daily Telegraph quotes Branson as saying he is “open to being courted by anyone who is interested in bidding” for Gatwick, should BAA eventually be ordered to sell two of its London airports, as has been recommended by the Competition Commission.
What an interesting development that could be. With the long-simmering rivalry between Virgin Atlantic and British Airways hotting up again amid BA’s third attempt to secure antitrust immunity with American Airlines, one can only imagine the sparring that might take place if Virgin became the owner of one of BA’s biggest bases!
Whatever ends up happening to Gatwick, most of the people I’ve spoken to who have used the facility believe things can only get better under new ownership.
A recent example is a colleague of mine who was on a flight from Austria to Heathrow earlier this week. His flight circled Heathrow for 40 minutes, unable to land, and instead decided to land at Gatwick.
Once on the ground at Gatwick, he and other passengers were forced to remain on the aircraft for THREE HOURS because…wait for it…there were no stairs available to allow them to disembark. You couldn’t make this stuff up!