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Virgin Detroit: Sir Richard Branson Hinting At A Virgin Industry In The Motor City?

Virgin Detroit: Sir Richard Branson Hinting At A Virgin Industry In The Motor City?

Detroit, MI, June 11, 2015 - Founder and President of Virgin Atlantic Airways, Sir Richard Branson, landed in Romulus, Michigan to celebrate the launch of Virgin Atlantic's premiere, non-stop flight from London Heathrow (LHR) to Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), making Virgin Airways the first British airline to offer non-stop flights from London to Detroit.

Expected to transport 155,000 passengers annually, Virgin Atlantic will operate the route on an A330-300, which offers 33 Upper Class, 48 Premium Economy and 185 Economy seats. "[Virgin Atlantic] offers the best in-flight entertainment, customer service and premium economy seats at half the price of British Airways…" Branson stated.

Welcomed by Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) CEO Richard Anderson and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, the press conference rallied around the resurgence of Detroit and its growing, entrepreneurial community.

Branson, who arrived to the press conference wearing a "Detroit Hustles Harder" t-shirt from local retailer Division Street Boutique, commented: "I am fascinated by this city and personally really looking forward to exploring it. It's had some tough times but it's on its way back up and everyone at Virgin Atlantic is delighted to be a part of the city's future. The creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of Detroit and its people is something very close to my heart. I'm looking forward to meeting some aspiring businessmen and women while I'm here and learning about what they are looking to do and trying to help in any way I can."

While Branson hinted at a possible Virgin Hotel, Detroit, the conference overlooked the billionaire's longtime interest and love for music and the arts.

From the Virgin Atlantic press release, guests on board included the cast of 'Motown: The Musical,' which recently announced it will open in London in 2016. The cast entertained customers on board the celebration flight from London Heathrow ahead of their two night stay in the city with a medley of songs from the show.

And, with the recent return of Jack White's Third Man Records, could Branson be hinting at a possible Virgin Records, Detroit?


Mayor Mike Duggan, who also spoke at the press conference, said: "Richard Branson coming to Detroit to announce Virgin Atlantic's non-stop flight demonstrates our city's position as a leader in the international market. Detroit is the third largest international gateway in the U.S. and the addition of new direct access to London and the European market will further support our growing business and tourism economies."

The joint venture between Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines launched in January 2014, welcoming more than 4.6 million customers with 103,000 of those connecting from over 100 destinations across Delta's North American network. These numbers are expected to grow as passengers experience the broad, network scope and exceptional customer service offered by the unique partnership.

Between Virgin Atlantic and Delta, the two airlines now operate up to 39 daily flights across the Atlantic including 10 daily flights between New York City and London Heathrow. These hubs offer easy connectivity from more than 200 U.S. destinations as far apart as Savannah and Sacramento.

During his stay, Sir Richard will be hosting 'Dare to Pitch,' an event at the College for Creative Studies (CCS) where four of Detroit's most intriguing start-ups will pitch their ideas to the billionaire entrepreneur and a panel of Detroit's brilliant, business minds. And if you're headed to downtown Detroit this weekend, keep an eye out for the mogul, as Branson will be throwing the first pitch of the Tigers v. Indians game at Comerica Park.

Posted-In: Detroit Jack White Mike Duggan Richard AndersonNews Travel Events General Best of Benzinga


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