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July 29, 2008

Virgin Charter Plans Link With Virgin Airlines

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

New entrant Virgin Charter, part of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group of more than 300 companies, plans to to make connections easier when people are combining a private jet segment with a commercial segment on its airlines ( think Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America), founder and CEO Scott Duffy told Elite Traveler during an exclusive interview at The National Business Travel Association trade show in Los Angeles.

Duffy said that Virgin Charter, which launched in March, has developed a customer mix of two-thirds corporate and one-third individuals. He noted that most of its customers are current private jet users and the company’s request to close ratio has gained from 400 to 1 at launch to 15 to 1 for consumers and 10 to 1 for corporations. So far trips booked have ranged from $5,000 to $2 million (a 900 person corporate incentive), and the average trip is $22,000. Duffy described the West Coast/Hollywood market as remaining “strong” for business while leisure travel this summer from the U.S. to Europe has been good, nationally to the Hamptons, and from Texas to Colorado.

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