Virgin Atlantic Airways President Richard Branson believes this year will be the "worst in the history of aviation" and that even U.S. carriers will not emerge unscathed. "You have to prepare for these cycles," Branson said at a Tokyo press conference on Tuesday. "You reap the harvest and you build up a nest egg for the bad years." In a separate interview with Reuters, Branson said several U.S. airlines could fail in the next 12 to 18 months, and he doubts the government will step in. "I don't think that the American government will yet again put more billions into the airline industry. They've learned their lessons from the car industry."