A new airline, Virgin Atlantic, starts flying from London to Newark in the United States on June 22, with a cut price of only 99 pounds Sterling (135 US dollars) for an introductory period.
LONDON, UK JUNE 21, 1984 (REUTERS - DMITRI SABAGH )
(** SOME PICTURE DISTURBANCE ON THIS STORY **)
CU Virgin Atlantic plane landing. 0.13
CU Airway insignia on tail of plane. 0.19
SVs INTERIOR Booking office with sign advertising low fares to New York. (3 SHOTS) 0.35
GV Street scene showing virgin-owned nightclub "The Venue" in Victoria Street, London. 0.40
GV exterior Virgin Record megastore store in Oxford Street, London. 0.43
Background: A new airline, Virgin Atlantic, starts flying from London to Newark in the United States on June 22, with a cut price of only 99 pounds Sterling (135 US dollars) for an introductory period. The scheme is the brainchild of Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson, a 33-year-old Englishman who has already steered his company to success in the leisure and entertainments industry. In 1983 the group had a turnover of more than one hundred million pounds (136 million US dollars). This was gained from Virgin nightclubs - like the Venue, in London's Victoria - numerous video enterprises and the famous Virgin Records Business - a recording label and owner of Europe's largest record store, situated in London's Oxford Street. Branson's decision to expand into the airline business has been put into operation with remarkable speed. It has taken little over three months to get the idea off the drawing board into operation. Permission from the US civil aviation authority to fly into Newark, which was granted on June 19, completed the bureaucratic requirements the group needed to begin trading. Branson has negotiated an impressive deal with Boeing, the aircraft manufacturers, buying a second hand 747 airliner for only a quarter of its 100 million pounds (136 million US dollars) price tag when new. Under a confidential agreement. Boeing are obliged to buy back the aircraft after anything up to three years should Virgin no longer require it. Branson told Visnews reporter Chris Travers that he was not going to run 'no frills' flights in the same vein as the ill-fated Laker Airlines had attempted, but the Virgin would be providing top class standards at a cheaper price than rivals like TWA and Pan Am. After the introductory phase, prices will go up to 119 pounds (162 dollars). Branson says that if the Atlantic flights are successful he'll similar consider services to Canada and Australia.