Branson campaigns against BA – AA merger

Update: Sir Richard Branson says he will do “whatever it takes” to stop the proposed merger of British Airways and American Airlines. He made the comments as †he revealed plans to paint the entire Virgin Atlantic fleet with slogan “No way BA-AA”.

The Virgin Atlantic founder says that he will “go to any extent” in his campaign to block the proposed alliance. He launched his plans this morning (September 12).

The first phase of the campaign will include painting the slogan across the airline’s fleet of planes and he plans to launch a second phase, including a major advertising campaign, by the end of the year if the deal is not referred to the competition authorities.

Branson has already slammed the deal because it would create a “monster monopoly”. He claims that under the deal the two airlines would control more than 70% of traffic at Heathrow and JFK, and that only shareholders would benefit.

The two airlines are not planning a full merger but hope to create an alliance that will collaborate on fares, routes and schedules. It is their third attempt to agree a partnership in 11 years.

The deal will involve a combined route network serving 443 destinations in 106 countries with 62,000 daily departures. It is still waiting for regulatory approval from American and European authorities.

Branson claims that the deal will reduce competition and push up ticket prices but BA counters that it will be both good for consumers and the industry.

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