Sir Richard Branson said yesterday he would be prepared to run British Airways’ Concorde fleet at a loss for the prestige the supersonic jets would lend his airline.

“We believe as a private company it would be a good idea to fly Concorde as a loss-leader.” He said the sight of a Concorde with a Virgin Atlantic tailfin would attract more customers to the company.

He made his comments to applause from an audience of business leaders at the Royal Albert Hall before going on to hold up a model of the supersonic jet mocked up in Virgin colours.

“British Airways were given Concorde by the taxpayer and they have every right not to run it but if another British company wants to run it, I think they would have the right,” he said.

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