Back in the early 80s Richard Branson was probably best known for Virgin Records - the legendary record label that signed major names like the Rolling Stones, Janet Jackson and The Human League. In 1984, much to the horror of his directors, Richard announced to the world that a high quality, value for money airline would begin operating within three months. Three months, some licences, staff and an aircraft packed with celebrities later, Virgin Atlantic Airways was born. By the end of the decade we had flown over 1 million passengers and started shaking up services onboard by being the first airline to offer individual TVs to their business class passengers.
In 1992 Richard sold Virgin Music to Thorn EMI and invested the proceeds into Virgin Atlantic, improving on an already great service. In the same year we launched the first super economy service that went on to become our award winning Premium Economy. We spent most of the Nineties buying new planes, expanding our route network and generally breaking new ground in passenger service, both on the ground and in the air. In 1999 Richard sold a 49% stake in the company to Singapore Airlines valuing us at a minimum of £1.225bn. In the same year, for services to entrepreneurship Richard received a knighthood.