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    Is this his tackiest PR stunt yet? Richard Branson lifts his kilt to promote Virgin’s expansion into Scotland

    Exhibitionist entrepreneur flashed underwear to promote new airline route
    Richard Branson is expanding his domestic flights into Scotland
    Branson said he was ‘enjoying wearing a kilt’ despite the chilly weather

    By Hannah Ellis-petersen

    PUBLISHED: 14:23 EST, 8 April 2013

    He is as famous for his brazen publicity stunts as he is for his multi-million pound business empire.

    But yesterday, Virgin Atlantic President Richard Branson performed what may have been his most tawdry exploit yet, as he promoted his company’s expansion into Scotland.

    Stepping off the first Virgin plane at Edinburgh airport from Heathrow, the billionaire businessman lifted up his kilt to the watching crowd to reveal pants bearing the slogan ‘stiff competition.’


    Breezy: Sir Richard Branson lifted up his Harris Tweed Kilt in Edinburgh today to promote his new Virgin Atlantic Little Red flights


    Self-promotion: Branson flashed his suggestive underwear to a crowd of onlookers including Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

    The crude tongue-in-cheek phrase alluded to Mr Branson’s newly launched domestic service, Little Red, which will now offer Virgin flights between Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and London, in direct competition with British Airways.

    Never one to shy away from the limelight, Mr Branson – who had a Scottish grandmother and is married to a Glaswegian – stood on an elevated platform on the windy runway and said it was ‘great to be in Edinburgh’ before he exposed his underwear to a crowd which included Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

    Speaking after the stunt, Mr Branson said he was ‘enjoying wearing a kilt’.


    No shrinking violet: Branson was hoping to draw attention to Virgin's new domestic services between London Heathrow and Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Manchester

    ‘Despite the weather it is nice to have a bit of fresh air and it is very comfortable,’ he added. ‘I’ve got to the age where it is wise to always wear something under my kilt- especially in weather like this.’

    This is not the first time the Virgin mogul has resorted to such uncouth publicity stunts.

    The new Little Red service lauched yesterday will be the first time Virgin Atlantic has operated connecting flights from Scottish destinations, and Mr Branson said he was ‘excited’ to have been given the airport slots that came available after domestic airline British Midlands was forced out of business.

    ‘We are delighted that we managed to pick up these slots as it means we can offer stiff competition to British Airways,’ said the Virgin executive.


    Honorary Scotsman: Branson said that he was enjoying wearing his kilt saying it was 'nice to have a bit of fresh air'

    ‘There are a lot of people from around the world who love to fly to Edinburgh and Aberdeen and now we can finally now compete properly with BA and give people the opportunity to travel up here with Virgin.’

    ‘I look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with Scotland.’

    The expanded Virgin Atlantic service will create 130 new jobs in Scotland, and is expected to generate £75 million in revenue for the Scottish economy.

    Speaking yesterday, Mr Branson said that while he was ‘thrilled’ that Virgin had finally been allowed to expand services to Edinburgh and Aberdeen, he was unhappy that they had been prevented from operating out of Glasgow.

    ‘I would love to be flying to Glasgow as well, but for some bizarre reason the competition authorities, who bequeathed us these slots, didn’t allow us to have the slots to compete with British airways out of Glasgow’, added the millionaire businessman.


    Brazen: Canny businessman Branson took the opportunity to have a dig at competitors British Airways, saying that the 'stiff competition' message was aimed at them

    After reporting losses of up to £135 million over the past two years, Mr Branson and Virgin Atlantic’s new Chief Executive, Craig Kreeger, said that the new domestic service was just one part of the company’s plans to push its finances back into the black.

    And despite his brazen publicity stunt, Mr Branson was insistent that he would remain on neutral ground over the question of Scottish Independence.

    ‘If Scotland becomes independent they will have an airline that will be delighted to connect them to their neighbouring country and if it stays part of Great Britain, we will be equally delighted to have

    Scottish people use our services to take visits down to little old England,’ said Mr Branson.
    ‘Either way, Virgin will stay independent of this particular debate.’


    Richard Branson to dress as female flight attendant aboard AirAsiaX

    April 8, 2013

    Sir Richard Branson is set to make good on his two-year-old wager with AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes by taking to the skies as a female flight attendant next month.

    The Virgin Group entrepreneur will shave his legs, slip into a sexy red skirt and strut his stuff as a flight attendant on a special AirAsia X charity flight from Perth to Kuala Lumpur.
    Sir Richard and Tony Fernandes had wagered on which one of their Formula One racing teams (then Virgin and Lotus) would finish ahead of each other in their debut season of the 2010 Formula One Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi, and that the loser would serve as a female flight attendant on board the winner's airline.

    Tony Fernandes' then Team Lotus finished two spots above Sir Richard’s Marussia Virgin Racing team in the final rankings.


    "The day of reckoning for Sir Richard has finally arrived," Mr Fernandes said.

    "Both Richard and I have come full circle and who would have thought my mentor will be serving as a flight attendant on AirAsia. It’s an awkward moment when you go down memory lane and recall the times I used to work for Richard. And it's hilarious to think now, that it's Richard who will be working for me as a sassy flight attendant."

    "He will be committed to carry out the responsibilities of a flight attendant, including offering coffee, tea and other food and beverages to guests on the special 6-hour Perth to Kuala Lumpur flight."

    "You never know, it might just be you being served by the legendary, dedicated flight attendant Sir Richard on this once-in-a-lifetime flight, and there's no better way in honouring his loss in the wager by donating to a charity organisation like Starlight Children Foundation," Mr Fernandes said.

    Fares on the flight will cost $399* one way, with AUD100 from each seat to be donated by AirAsia X to the Starlight Children’s Foundation in Australia.
    The airline will also donate 10% of all inflight sales including duty free merchandise sold on board the flight to the foundation. Guests will also have an opportunity to make donations on board the special flight.
    AirAsia X's flight D7237 departs Perth for Kuala Lumpur at 06:50 on May 12 2013.