The billionaire founder of the Virgin Group empire, Richard Branson, has hit out at Qantas Airways boss Alan Joyce while firing a broadside at regulators that have allowed airline alliances to prosper.
Mr Branson, whose Virgin Group maintains a 10 per cent stake in Qantas rival Virgin Australia Holdings, said Mr Joyce’s strategy of protecting its 65 per cent market share in Australia had left Qantas in “deep s***”.
“He drew a line in the sand and said that Virgin was not going to have more than 35 per cent of the market and he’s lost hundreds of millions in order to try to hold that line,” Mr Branson said in Dubai, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Mr Branson warned the Abbott government against offering aid ahead of Mr Joyce's trip to Canberra today, which will see him discuss the prospect of government assistance.
“Every company in Australia would come begging to the government if they were to allow that to happen,” he said, according to the WSJ.
It is not the first time Mr Branson has hit out at Qantas recently, with the entrepreneur also criticising Australia’s national carrier in December.
“If Qantas was better managed and offered the public a decent service; it would not be in the financial mess it is currently claiming it is in,” Mr Branson said at the time.
The latest broadside also panned global regulators for green lighting airline alliances such as American Airlines with British Airways and Qantas Airways with Emirates Airlines.
“Good government would never have allowed that to happen and you've now got less than a handful of big carriers around the world and prices will go up as a result,” he said, according to Arabian Business.
“And it's going to be incredibly difficult for any new airline to ever, ever, ever get up and compete with that.
“Competition brings better fares and better quality than cooperation but the regulators in their wisdom have decided to create a number of very big, very big alliances.”