British Airways cuts Branson from Bond film


LONDON -- British Airways cut a cameo by Richard Branson from its in-flight version of the latest James Bond film and blurred out the tail fin of a Virgin Atlantic plane seen in the movie.

BA's entertainment team cut a cameo appearance by Brandon, chairman of the rival airline Virgin Atlantic, that appears in the original version of "Casino Royale," a spokesman confirmed Saturday. In the original film, Branson can be seen turning around after walking through a metal detector at Miami Airport.

"We screen all films before they're used on our aircraft so that we can control the content of what is displayed," the spokesman said on condition of anonymity, in line with company policy. "We have full control over what is shown."

The tail fin of a Virgin plane appearing in the film is also obscured in BA's in-flight version.

BA's entertainment team vets films on grounds of taste and suitability. Branson appeared in the film after his airline provided the producers with a plane to use in the movie.

Paul Charles, a spokesman for Virgin Atlantic, said was a shame BA felt the cut was necessary. He said Virgin made no changes to "Die Another Day" a Bond film featuring British Airways, adding his carrier's policy was not to edit the movies it shows.

"We think passengers should see the whole film and nothing but the whole film," Charles said.

Relations between the rival British carriers were further strained last year after Virgin Atlantic Airways provided U.S. and British authorities with information that triggered an investigation of alleged airline price-fixing in passenger fares and fuel surcharges involving British Airways PLC.
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