Sir Richard Branson says he’s baffled by Alaska Airlines’ decision to pay $2.6 billion to buy Virgin America just to dump the airline’s most valuable parts: the Virgin brand and some of its top employees.

SeaTac-based Alaska (NYSE: ALK) said it will likely drop the Virgin brand by 2019. But Branson, who previously had a minority stake in Virgin America, said Alaska must keep paying him licensing fees until 2040 — whether it uses his Virgin brand or not.

“It’s baffling and sad,” Branson…