Virgin Atlantic boss says UK is 'on sale' following pound crash

Shai Weiss urges UK Prime Minister Liz Truss to change tack in order to boost the moribund currency

Virgin Atlantic is inured from the worst of the pound's woes due to purchasing planes and fuel in dollars. PA
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Sterling’s fall in value means the UK is “on sale” for inbound tourists, the boss of Virgin Atlantic told a press conference in central London on Tuesday.

“If you want to come and see the new king for half price, fly Virgin Atlantic," he said, adding the weakness was "hurting" UK consumers.

Shai Weiss urged UK Prime Minister Liz Truss to change tack in order to boost the moribund currency, which economists fear could slump to parity with the US dollar this year for the first time.

His comments come after speculation mounted on Monday the the Bank of England may impose an emergency interest rate rise to try and tackle the problem.

However, governor Andrew Bailey released a statement saying the bank would change interest rates “by as much as needed” to get inflation back to its 2 per cent target — an approach questioned by many economists who argue raising interest rates has no bearing on the supply-side causes of this inflationary spike.

In early trading on Tuesday, the pound sat at about 1.08 US dollars, having recovered slightly from its close Monday close of 1.07 US dollars.

Virgin Atlantic is inured from the worst of the pound's woes due to purchasing planes and fuel in dollars, and Mr Weiss framed his press conference remarks as one of a concerned third party rather than partisan business owner.

“The weakness of the pound is hurting, not Virgin Atlantic, it’s hurting the economy and it’s hurting consumers because it’s actually fulfilling or fuelling the inflation vicious cycle that we’re in," he said.

“The message to Government is pretty clear in my mind. Prime Minister Liz Truss has taken difficult decisions upon entering into the role.

“Maybe you need to take a more difficult decision to reverse the declining pound and ensure that this country is not left with unsustainable perceived weakness in international markets, which of course then impact interest rates, impact consumers, impact mortgage rates, impact the entire economy.

“So yes, we are concerned. The fundamentals are strong, but we’re concerned of course like everyone else in this country with the economic environment in which we operate.”

He continued: “Sometimes all of us in this room should be humble enough to say: ‘If I did something that is not working, maybe I should reverse course.’

“That is not a bad thing to do.”

Updated: September 27, 2022, 1:52 PM
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