Branson, who founded the U.K.’s Virgin Atlantic in 1984 and Virgin America in 2007, posted his emotional farewell on the Virgin Group’s blog, where he recalled many happy memoires with the airline and referred the Virgin America’s retirement as “the day the music died”.
Also in his statement, he began by saying, “Dear Virgin America,
With a lot of things in life, there is a point where we have to let go and appreciate the fact that we had this ride at all. Many years ago, I shed tears over selling my beloved Virgin Records for $1 billion, which we needed to fight off British Airways’ Dirty Tricks campaign to try to put Virgin Atlantic out of business. Many tears are shed today, this time over Alaska Airlines’ decision to buy and now retire Virgin America.
It has a very different business model and sadly, it could not find a way to maintain its own brand and that of Virgin America”.
With Branson’s clear sadness over this change, Alaska Airlines has reportedly promised to ‘keep some of Virgin America’s charisma’ and have also said that Virgin Elevate members can transfer their miles to Alaska Airlines’ Alaska Mileage Plan, receive 10,000 free Alaska miles, or a $100 airfare credit.
Further in his statement, Branson continued to reminisce over better days with Virgin America, saying, “Remember that time from 2004 to 2007 when we leased planes that were sitting on the runway while we waited for the US government to give us a license so that we could make flying good again?”
And later, “Remember that time in 2014 when Dallas residents signed a petition to make sure city council members did the right thing and gave us two gates at Dallas Love Field? And the party we threw to thank Dallas for letting us fly?”.
The full statement can be seen below, via the link here.