Sir Richard Branson
24 July 2003
LETTER TO GEOFF DIXON FROM RICHARD BRANSON
was amused to read Qantass completely dismissive
comments about Virgin Atlantics chances of getting
permission to fly to Australia. It would be prudent
for you to remind yourself of your and James Strongs
equally dismissive comments about Virgin Blues
chances of entering the Australian market only three
goes! This is the gist of what you said:
Blue is a lot of media hype.
market is not big enough to sustain Virgin Blue.
Blue doesnt have deep enough pockets to cope.
will employ any option to see off this interloper.
be unlikely to survive a year.
by Richard Branson that domestic fares are high are
a misnomer! (my exclamation mark)
Here is what James Strong, your former C.E.O, said
about Virgin Blue and myself:
you listen to most of the pretenders there is a distinct
air that they are making it up as they go along. In
terms of real plans and real commitment you could
fire a shot gun up the main street and not hit anybody.
three years later you are telling your staff that
this same airline, that was making it up as
it went along and that now has 30% of the market
could, Drive Qantas out of business! We
also find it flattering, if a little silly, that three
years on you now have spies hiding behind pot plants
in the Virgin terminal trying to work out why we are
if some of your comments dont suggest it, your
actions indicate you are taking us seriously. But
lets not take ourselves too seriously. I would
like to propose a friendly challenge!
Virgin Atlantic fails to fly to Australia (within
18 months, say) Id be prepared to suffer the
indignity of donning one of your stewardesses brand
new designer outfits and will work your flight from
London to Australia serving your customers throughout.
if Virgin Atlantic does fly to Australia you would
do so instead. On our inaugural flight from London
to Australia you would wear one of our beautiful red
Virgin Stewardesses uniforms and serve our inaugural
guests all the way to Australia. Oh and in case you
were wondering, were not hung up on flying through
Hong Kong. You might end up doing your days work experience
through Singapore, Thailand or Malaysia instead.
is the challenge. If you believe in what Qantas said
to the press there cant be any risk for you.
We expect your response within one week. Our inaugural
flights are great fun and I look forward to welcoming
you on board personally. Oh and by the way my preferred
I enclose a picture to give you an idea of what you
might look like.
wasn't particularly impressed with Branson's offer.
are running an airline not a circus," Dixon
said through a Qantas spokeswoman.