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Branson alert: not another IPO

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Is there anything less plausible than the idea of an IPO of Virgin Galactic, the space tourism venture that is the latest jewel in Richard Branson’s crown?

A Virgin Group spokesman mooted the idea after the bearded one sold a 32 percent stake to an Abu Dhabi-based investment company called Aabar, which clearly wants to appear first in the local phone book.

Here are two thoughts.

One, for all the hype surrounding Galactic, is it really plausible that people will be queuing round the block to spend $200,000 for a few minutes in “space”? Isn’t there a bit of a recession on?

Two, if there’s one thing scarier than blasting off in one of Branson’s space rockets, its the idea of owning shares in one of his companies. The list of dogs is endless: Victory; Virgin Express; Virgin Media and Virgin Blue.

Business (class) is grim for British Airways

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british-airwaysFewer people are “flying the flag” these days.

And British Airways is feeling the pinch — particularly in business class.

The carrier’s latest figures show BA carried 3.8 percent fewer passengers in June than last year, with most of the fall in premium class seats, where traffic dropped by nearly 15 percent.

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