Richard Branson, the flamboyant chairman of Virgin Atlantic Airways, has promised to don a Qantas stewardess uniform and serve passengers if his airline does not begin flying between London and Sydney within 18 months. In a letter to the Australian airline, Mr Branson challenged Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon to reciprocate if Virgin meets the 18-month deadline for starting services on the 'kangaroo route'. Mr Branson's letter included a picture of a woman in a Virgin uniform, but with Mr Dixon's face. 'If Virgin fails to fly to Australia ... I'd be prepared [to don] one of your stewardesses' designer outfits,' Mr Branson wrote. 'However, if Virgin Atlantic does fly to Australia, you would do so instead.' Mr Dixon dismissed the challenge saying: 'We are running an airline, not a circus.' Virgin has long lobbied the Hong Kong government for amendments to the bilateral air agreement to give it the right to extend its daily London-Hong Kong service to Sydney.