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Thu, Apr 26, 2007

Branson Twists Knife In Airbus' Back With Boeing Order

Takes Opportunity To Slam A380 As "Financial Disaster"

Sir Richard Branson is irked at Airbus, for three delays in Virgin Atlantic's order for the A380 superjumbo.

How irked? Branson posed with Boeing executives to announce his decision to purchase as many as 43 Boeing 787 Dreamliners for Virgin, snubbing the Airbus A350 XWB. But he didn't stop there, reports Forbes.

The statement from Virgin said its new partnership with Boeing would benefit the environment, because the US-made 787 burns 27 per cent less fuel per passenger-mile than the Airbus A340s it will replace.

Ouch. But Branson still wasn't through.

Branson -- never at a loss for words -- also called the A380 "a financial disaster", suggesting Airbus will be hard-pressed to ever sell enough of the planes to turn a profit.

So, why so nasty? According to analyst Doug McVitie, "Branson definitely has a jaundiced view of Airbus and little faith in their promises now.

"He'd hoped to steal a march on British Airways with the A380, and in common with every other airline that ordered the A380, has seen his airline's plans suffer," McVitie said, adding Branson would be "making the same mistake twice" had Virgin cast its lot with Airbus once again on the A350 XWB.

FMI: www.airbus.com, www.boeing.com, www.virginatlantic.com

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