To mark the 25th anniversary of Airline Business, 25 leading airline industry executives who have helped shape the sector over the last quarter century, give their reflections on the last 25 years and the challenges for the years to come.
Larger than life entrepeneur and foundder of Virgin Atlantic, Sir Richard Branson on bringing a bit of glamour back to air travel. He writes:
"When we went into the airline business 26 years ago, the aviation industry was lifeless and dull. The airlines did not seem to have any imagination and air travel had lost the glamour that was associated with it in the 1950s. Food was tasteless, seats uncomfortable and passengers were treated like cattle. Being in the record business, I needed to travel frequently all over the world and loathed the thought of getting on a plane.
We decided that we should create an airline people would love to fly with. We wanted to create the best airline in the world and go all the way with the passenger experience, unlike other long-haul carriers. Our general philosophy with Virgin Atlantic was that the best will always survive, so we innovated. We offered a first-class product at a business-class fare, were the first to offer Premium Economy and were the first to offer each passenger on the plane seat-back TVs. People were keen to travel with us because we were offering something new, exciting and different".
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More on Virgin and Branson
- Watch our video interview with Sir Richard Branson from earlier this year, where he reluctantly accepts that his airline may be forced to seek out partnerships to compete with the likes of the British Airways and American Airlines partnerships;
- Read our cover interview from May 2009 with the heads of three Virgin carriers: Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Blue and Virgin America;
- Sir Richard Branson was guest editor of Flightglobal.com back in June last year and answered reader's questions here
More leader perspectives and anniversary content
- Read all 25 leader perspectives and messages and contributions from other senior figures
- Airline industry figures give their reflections on the last 25 years in our special video report
- Follow the ups and downs of the industry since 1985 with our interactive airline industry timeline
Source: Airline Business