Virgin Atlantic Airways spokeswoman Polly Durrant stated Sir Richard Branson is still in the early stages of assessing the carrier’s future (Bloomberg/Reuters/Gulf Times, 24-Jan-2011). “Deutsche Bank AG is working with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Group to assess the current aviation marketplace and seek growth opportunities for Virgin Atlantic,. This study is at a very early stage so there is no further comment to make at this time,” she said. Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan reportedly recently wrote to Deutsche Bank to “express interest” in acquiring the carrier (Sunday Times, 23-Jan-2011). The carrier responded to the reports by stating: “We have no comment other than that we talk regularly and frequently to many airlines and a range of other businesses from all over the world about business issues and opportunities."
Etihad expresses interest in Virgin Atlantic: reports
You may also be interested in the following articles...
Brexit and aviation: still no clarity, even as UK government sets timeframe and broad principles
Over seven months after the UK voted in a referendum to leave the European Union, the longer term impact on aviation remains uncertain. The UK Prime Minister Theresa May will almost certainly gain parliamentary authority to trigger Article 50 by her planned deadline of the end of Mar-2017, taking the UK out of the EU by Mar-2019.
On 17-Jan-2017 Mrs May set out 12 principles which will guide the UK in its negotiations with the European Union over the terms of its exit. These principles formed the basis of a White Paper outlining the government's planned approach to the Brexit negotiations. Among other things, the UK does not plan continued membership of the EU Single Market and wishes to control immigration.
There is now a clear timeframe for the Brexit negotiations and a broad framework to guide the UK government in these talks, but still no clarity for aviation. There are obstacles to the UK's continued membership of the European Common Aviation Area, and a bilateral approach may now be more likely. The UK Transport Secretary wants the "best possible access to European aviation markets", but is not yet able to say how that can be achieved.
British Airways: cabin crew dispute tests the airline's resolve to reduce unit labour cost
A vote on 14-Dec-2016 by British Airways 'mixed fleet' cabin crew raises the real threat of strike action - and, as is often the case, in the lead up to a peak holiday period. This would be the first serious industrial action since strikes by cabin crew protesting at the 2010 introduction of mixed fleet crew. BA, and its parent IAG, have been praised by many observers (including CAPA) for their resolve in driving through important restructuring programmes in legacy airlines, while their European peers have fallen behind the field. A crucial part of this has been to generate labour productivity improvements, often in the face of union resistance.
British Airways has a good track record in improving the efficiency of its workforce, as measured by ASKs per employee. In 2015 it made its highest-ever operating profit margin, beating Europe's other major legacy airlines, and it looks likely to improve on this once again in 2016. However, it does not have a great record of lowering unit labour cost.
Moreover, BA is currently experiencing falling unit revenue. With help from lower fuel prices receding, cutting ex fuel unit cost will be vital if BA is to fight off the margin squeeze resulting from unit revenue weakness. Labour is a key element of ex fuel cost, so the cabin crew dispute is a test of BA's resolve.