Buffett and Branson on airline business

While reading a few days ago Warren Buffett’s Letter to the Shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, I was reminded of NetJets, the fractionary ownership of planes business which has as parent company. The fact that BRK owns such a company is quite ironic bearing in mind the following quote from Buffett:

“The worst sort of business is one that grows rapidly, requires significant capital to engender the growth, and then earns little or no money. Think airlines. Here a durable competitive advantage has proven elusive ever since the days of the Wright Brothers. Indeed, if a farsighted capitalist had been present at Kitty Hawk, he would have done his successors a huge favor by shooting Orville down.”

But then again, Richard Branson, another prominent businessman, founded Virgin Atlantic, which is now part of the Virgin Group, chaired by Branson, who is quoted saying:

“The quickest way to become a millionaire in the airline business is to start out as a billionaire.”

Are these cases of “do as I say, not as I do”?

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Filed under Aerospace & Defence, Investing

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