Marketing Case Virgin Airline

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CASE 8: VIRGIN AIRWAYS ------------------------------------------------- I. BACKGROUND Virgin Atlantic was developed as an offshoot of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, which was better known at the time in the world of pop and rock music. In early 1984, Branson was contacted by an Anglo-US lawyer called Randolph Fields with a proposal for involvement in a new airline. Recognizing that, like the music business, aviation was a consumer led industry, and tired of the conveyor belt attitude to passengers, Branson decided it was time for Virgin to diversify. On 22 June 1984 Virgin’s inaugural flight to Newark took place, a flight filled with friends, celebrities and the media. The airline’s aim was simple: “To provide the highest quality innovative service at excellent value for money for all classes of air travellers”. Hugely popular, Virgin Atlantic has won top business, consumer and trade awards from around the world. Branson had founded it in 1984, his ambition had been to build an airline unlike any other. Ten years later, what set Virgin apart was its reputation for giving customers what they wanted at prices they could afford, pioneering new concepts in service and entertainment and restoring a sense of pleasure and excitement to long-distance travel? The main challenge the airline faced as it celebrated its 10th anniversary was to foster throughout the 1990s. What sort of airline should it be? How could it achieve that goal? How could it remain profitable? How could it retain its competitive edge in innovations? Was it possible to grow while retaining the organizational advantages of a small entrepreneurial company? How could it keep employees motivated and enthusiastic? How would it keep the momentum of its success? There were some of the questions that went through Richard Branson’s mind as his 400 guests and himself watched a Virgin 747
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