Virgin America (San Francisco) today announced it is launching sales on its new business-friendly flights from Dallas’ Love Field (DAL) to New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA), Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The new flights take off in October 2014.
To announce the news today, the airline made a surprise landing with one of its custom-designed Airbus A320 aircraft at Love Field – where it is hosting an “open plane” event for media, Elevate® loyalty members, partners and social media fans.
According to the carrier, “Virgin America’s flights from DAL will bring needed fare and product competition to the market. At present, one carrier controls 80 percent of the Love Field gates (16 of 20) and more than 90 percent of the traffic. An August 2013 study conducted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers found that of airports in its size class, DAL had the largest increase in average fares from 2007-2012 – a 37% jump.
The addition of Love Field will significantly expand Virgin America’s presence in Texas. SFO, LAX and DCA to DAL flight service starts on October 13, 2014, and LGA to DAL flight service starts on October 28, 2014. The carrier’s initial Love Field nonstop flight schedule is as below:
In 2015, Virgin America plans to add an additional daily flight from DAL to SFO, LAX and DCA, bringing each route to four daily nonstop flights. In addition, the airline plans to add two new daily nonstop flights from DAL to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) in 2015. Virgin America will move its current operations from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to DAL in October 2014.
The new routes will also expand Virgin America’s footprint in Washington D.C. and New York. In the last six months, the airline invested in assets being sold as part of the American Airlines merger settlement, including airport slots at LGA and DCA – both airports where access historically has been constrained and where consumers have had less fare and product competition as a result. Virgin America will be only the second low-cost airline to serve all three major New York-area airports.
What was left unstated, Virgin America is dropping service to Philadelphia (an US Airways, soon American Airlines fortress hub) after October 6 to free up the aircraft for the new DAL routes. US/AA will have less competition at PHL, not what the DOJ had in mind.
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 N361VA (msn 5515) with Sharklets approaches the runway at Las Vegas.
Route Map: New routes from DAL:
Video: Virgin America in 2 minutes: