Virgin America was an American low-fare airline founded in 2004 and commenced its operations in 2007 as an independent airline. In 2018 it ceased operations following the merger with Alaska Airlines. In the initial phase of its start, the airline mainly focused on operating low-fare with higher quality services between cities on the West Coast and other major metropolitan areas.
Headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, Burlingame, California, Virgin America’s primary hub was San Francisco International Airport and secondary hub was Los Angeles International Airport from where it operated domestic flights to major cities in the U.S.
Fleet Size and Codeshare Agreements
With an all-Airbus fleet size of around 67, Virgin America flew to 27 domestic destinations and three Mexican destinations with a focus city at Dallas Love Field, as of April 2018. The airline had codeshare agreements with various airlines such as Alaska Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia, China Airlines, and others.
The Inception of Virgin America
Virgin Group founded Virgin USA in early 2004 and expected flights to start operating by mid-2005, but due to certain reasons, the launch date was postponed to early 2006. However, the airline changed its name from "Virgin USA" to "Virgin America." After several considerations, the company chose the San Francisco Bay Area as the center of its flight operations and corporate headquarters.
It was in 2007 when Virgin America started selling tickets. Since the beginning, the airline suffered losses, and made its first profit in the year 2010, when it started operating its first international flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Toronto. But, due to high operating costs, the service to Toronto got discontinued in 2011.
Milestones- Launch of Innovative Inflight Services
Virgin America became the first airline in the United States to offer Wi-Fi access via Gogo Inflight Internet on its every flight on May 21, 2009. By January 2010, the airline introduced free Wi-Fi service and in December 2014, it announced faster ATG-4 in-flight Wi-Fi service from Gogo across its fleet. This service was three times faster than the first-generation system.
Merger with Alaska Airlines
In November 2014, Virgin America announced its first public offering at the NASDAQ stock exchange to raise $307 million for the company. Several airlines approached Virgin America for a takeover in late 2015. However, the two most interested companies to make an offer to purchase the airline from the Virgin Group were Alaska Air Group and JetBlue Airways Corporation. Following bidding on March 31 and April 1 at $57 per share, Alaska Air Group revealed that it had agreed to buy Virgin America for approximately $4 billion in April 2016 and on April 24, 2018, the airline was entirely merged into Alaska Airlines.Show more...