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Richard Branson writes emotional farewell letter to Virgin America

The Independent logo The Independent 24/03/2017 Josie Cox, Zlata Rodionova
© Reuters

Sir Richard Branson has written a heartfelt farewell letter to Virgin America after owner Alaska Airlines said it would soon stop using the Virgin brand.

The British billionaire founder of the Virgin Group, who launched the US budget airline in 2007 before selling it to Alaska Airlines last year, wrote on his blog: “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.”

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Sir Richard quoted Beatles musician George Harrison saying “All Things Must Pass.”

“This was the ride and love of a lifetime. I feel very lucky to have been on it with all of you. I'm told some people at Virgin America are calling today "the day the music died". It is a sad (and some would say baffling) day. But I'd like to assure them that the music never dies.”

Alaska Air Group said in a statement that, after careful consideration, it had decided to retire the Virgin America name “sometime in 2019” and that the company would adopt Alaska Airline’s name and logo.

"We spent the last ten months conducting extensive research," said Sangita Woerner, Alaska.

Customers on Twitter shared their disappointment saying they will miss “the best domestic airline in the country”.

Josh Billinson tweeted: “Virgin America is the best domestic airline in the country. This is disappointing .”

“This is by far the worst news of the day. So sad,” Melissa Kill said commenting on the news. “I have no interest in flying @AlaskaAir. @VirginAmerica is a sexy brand,” Ali Buttars tweeted.

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