This book reveals the extraordinary story of one of the most intensely fought battles in British commercial history - the fight between "the world's favourite airline", British Airways, and its rival, Virgin Atlantic. It is the story of a bitter rivalry between two companies and two men: Richard Branson, the unorthodox entrepreneur who is arguably Britain's best-known businessman as the head of Virgin; and John King, the Thatcherite Lord, ex-Chairman of British Airways. The book charts how the rivalry turned to obsession and finally to paranoia, until BA - one of the country's biggest blue-chip companies, was forced to admit that it waged a two-year dirty tricks campaign against Branson which went dramatically wrong. Based on extensive research and the hundreds of pages of documents prepared for the libel action between BA and Virgin, this reveals how an undercover war was fought between the two airlines. It draws on Richard Branson's diary of events, beginning with the first entries he made when he became convinced that Virgin was the victim of a dirty tricks campaign; and on the testimony of a number of key players in the drama that unfolded, many of whom typify corporate Britain today.
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