The Story Of Virgin America

Virgin America solely began flights in 2007 and ceased service in 2018. It was an unbiased airline, branded with the Virgin group. It might solely have operated for 11 years, but it surely was a preferred and profitable West-coast focussed airline. This west coast focus appealed to Alaska Airways, which bought Virgin America and built-in the airline into its model in 2018.

Beginning flights in 2007

In 2004, it turned clear that Richard Branson and the Virgin Group supposed to launch a US-focused airline. This was to be a low-cost airline (much like Virgin Australia) focussed on the west coast, with its headquarters in San Francisco. Regardless of ambitions to rapidly begin flights, this was delayed. The Virgin group had problem securing funding, and as well as, there have been delays in acquiring licenses as a result of objections from competing airways and from labor unions.


After agreeing to revise the corporate construction and restrict international possession of the airline, an working license was obtained in early 2007. Virgin America started flights on August eighth 2007, with the primary flights between New York JFK and San Francisco and on the west coast from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Virgin America’s first flight landed in San Francisco on August eighth 2007. Picture: Getty Pictures

Increasing service and fleet

Virgin America expanded service over the next years, principally round its west coast hubs at San Francisco and Los Angeles. It was additionally profitable in establishing a smaller hub in Dallas, at Dallas Love Area airport. This adopted the repeal of the Wright Modification in October 2014, which had beforehand restricted locations and operations on the airport. It primarily flew home providers but additionally operated to Toronto, Canada, for a short time in 2010 and 2011, and to a number of leisure locations in Mexico.

It additionally expanded its all-Airbus fleet. By the top of 2007, it had a fleet of 18 plane (13 A320ceo plane and 5 A319ceos). By the beginning of 2013, this had expanded to 52 plane (42 A320ceo plane and 10 A319ceos). And by the point of its merger in 2018, it operated 67 plane (53 A320ceo plane, 10 A319ceos and 4 new A321neos). That is based mostly on fleet knowledge from AeroTransport Information Financial institution (

The A320ceo was the primary a part of Virgin America’s fleet. Picture: Getty Pictures

The airline set itself aside in a number of methods. It was one of many earliest main adopters of social media advertising, taking up a full-time workforce as early as 2007 (Twitter for instance solely began in 2006). It was additionally the primary US airline to supply WiFi onboard on each flight (working by way of Gogo).

Merger with Alaska Airways

In 2016, it was introduced that Alaska Airways would purchase Virgin America. There had additionally been curiosity from JetBlue. This took place as Alaska Airways was making an attempt to increase its west coast presence amidst rising competitors from different carriers. Most notably, Delta Air Strains was increasing considerably out of Seattle. After some makes an attempt to dam the deal, it was accepted in December 2016.

The deal was value round $4 billion, together with debt and plane lease agreements. On the time of the takeover, Virgin America had excellent orders for the Airbus A321neo, which Alaska Airways saved. Virgin America was, the truth is, been the launch buyer (by way of a leasing proprietor) for the A321neo in Might 2017. Nevertheless, a few of Virgin America’s leased A320s did make their technique to scrapyards.

Alaska Airways wished to increase its west coast presence. Picture: Getty Pictures

Virgin American continued to function income flights till January 2018, when the working licenses for the 2 airways have been mixed. The Virgin America model remained in use till late April 2018. On April twenty fourth 2018, VX1948 was the ultimate passenger service from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Virgin America was a preferred airline for over a decade, and a part of it lives on in Alaska Airways. Did you’re employed for the airline? Or do you might have reminiscences of flying? Be happy to debate or share additional within the feedback.

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