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Monday, June 27, 2005

Virgin Atlantic renamed to Castro Air

Virgin Express holdings chief Richard Branson announced today that he was renaming Virgin Atlantic Airways to Castro Air in honor of the Cuban dictator and cigar aficionado. Branson was in Cuba celebrating the first flight of Virgin Atlantic's new service from London to Havana, when he made the snap decision. Later, onboard the flight back to London, Branson explained why he made the surprising decision.

"Castro politely asked me to make the change, whilst holding a revolver in the small of my back. He has a very charming, if forceful personality, that Fidel."

Branson renamed the airline "Damned if I'm Going to Cuba Again Airlines" on the journey back, before bowing to shareholder pressure and restoring the original name. There was no confirmation that shareholders persuaded Mr. Branson at the point of arms.

This is the third recent crisis that Mr. Branson has found himself in recently. Virgin Atlantic was recently sued for false advertising about its slogan "We're Virgin Atlantic" and lost. The decision forced the company to change its slogan to "The only thing about our company that's virgin is our name!" Ironically, bookings tripled, including a sharp increase in sales to Japanese businessmen.

The other crisis occurred when Branson attempted to buy the town of Branson, Missouri. He stated that he wanted to own the town so he could change its name to "Richard". In the end, he settled for a minority interest in the Jim Stafford Theater (The esteemed "Spiders and Snakes Balcony"), and outright ownership of the pool table in the men's room at the Shoji Tabuchi Theater, although Shoji still gets to play for free.


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