Airline, Branson clash over licensing fees.
Alaska Airlines could be headed toward a showdown with Richard Branson over millions of dollars in licensing fees.
Alaska took control of Virgin America last year. Branson, the British billionaire who helped create Virgin America, told reporters in Seattle this week that Alaska must pay royalties for the Virgin name under a licensing deal that runs until 2040.
But Alaska Airlines has a different opinion because it plans to drop the Virgin brand, probably in 2019.
Virgin Airlines paid $ 7.7 million in licensing fees to a Branson- controlled company in its last full year before the Alaska takeover. But that was before a 40 percent rate hike that likely pushed the fee to more than $ 10 million.