Branson, who was recently voted the most coveted CEO to work with by Aussies, spoke at the launch of Virgin Atlantic’s inaugural flight from Heathrow to Seattle, and warned that just the thought of Brexit has got the industry all shook up.
Per Travel Weekly UK, Branson told a press conference, “I speak out and I think others should too.
“A hard Brexit will damage the travel industry severely, the travel industry has already been damaged severely from the thought of Brexit and we are talking about the travel industry losing hundreds of millions collectively, billions I suspect. So they’d be foolish not to speak out.”
Suggesting he would not disagree with people saying Brexit can and should be repealed, Branson said in business terms it’s a repeal worth looking into.
“If I was a business person and I was going to make the most important business decision of my life I wouldn’t decide to make it three years before it happens and then say I’m going to stick with whatever the outcome of that negotiation is in three years’ time,” he added.
“I would leave my options open and I just hope sanity will prevail and that if it’s going to damage Great Britain and the travel industry then I hope somebody will own up to that.”
He said that Virgin Atlantic also needed to compete with new players in the low-cost, long-haul carrier game, but refused to “bastardise” its product to do so.
The brazen entrepreneur recently penned a farewell to Virgin America, which will soon be absorbed into Alaska Airlines’ brand following an acquisition. In his open letter, Branson called the carrier the “best consumer airline” in the US.
In particular, Branson was quizzed on the recent launch of Norwegian and IAG’s new airline LEVEL, introduced recently by British Airways parent IAG.
He said, “We must compete with anybody on low prices as well as quality. That’s what Virgin Atlantic has done for 33 years and will continue to do for the next 33 years.
“We will do it in a way that doesn’t bastardise our product.”