11 FEBRUARY 2013
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Steve Ridgway, outgoing CEO of Virgin Atlantic, signed off his 23 years at the airline with a typicallly candid speech well received by a packed Aviation Club audience in London last week. Sitting with him at the top table was his successor, Craig Kreeger, former London resident and now ex-American Airlines. Steve highlighted his pleasure with the Virgin / Delta Air Lines deal. By coincidence, the next club speaker is Ed Bastian, President of Delta. Mr Kreeger will no doubt find his speech interesting as well.
Ridgway used the opportunity to launch a scathing attack on successive UK governments and regulators. He claimed a better aviation policy would have meant both Virgin and rival BA would have been up to half as big again as they are today. He accused Whitehall of disregarding the British airlines, a success story – in spite of. "The Government loves great manufacturing companies like Airbus and Rolls-Royce, but they don't seem to like the people that fly the planes”.
"We have paid a huge price for poor policy and airports being full. And why has it taken 15 years not to achieve single (air traffic) skies in Europe? Why is APD in the UK the highest in the world?” www.virgin-atlantic.com
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