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Virgin boss Branson profits from airline sale

Richard Branson launches Virgin Atlantic LHR-Seattle route

Virgin Atlantic founder Sir Richard Branson is the richest person in travel, according to the latest Sunday Times Rich List 2017.

Branson has seen his fortune rise by £345 million to £4.9 billion over the last year, which puts him in 23rd place on the annual list.

The entrepreneur benefited from selling his 30 per cent stake in Virgin America for £540 million when the regional airline was acquired by Alaska Airlines last year.

The Virgin empire also includes the Virgin Trains and Virgin Trains East Coast rail franchises in the UK.

Branson last month warned that Brexit could "severely damage the travel industry" when he launched Virgin Atlantic's new flight from Heathrow to Seattle.

But another aviation pioneer Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has seen his wealth plunge by £640 million to £1.95 billion after a fall in the value of Easyjet’s shares over the last 12 months.

Other travel industry figures to feature in the list include Trailfinders’ founder Mike Gooley with an estimated wealth of £360 million. The travel agency is increasingly targeting business travel.

Kuljinder Bahia, who set up Southall Travel, which also owns TMC Applehouse Travel, saw his fortune grow by £64 million to £420 million.

Also featured are the Matharu brothers, the owners of Grange Hotels (home to the BBT Forums in London), who are worth a total of £1.02 billion.


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