Category Archives: Virgin America

Alaska Airlines unveils its “More to Love” special livery on N493AS

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Alaska Airlines today (December 14, 2016) unveiled at San Francisco (the home of Virgin America) a special Alaska Airlines + Virgin America “More to Love” livery on the pictured Boeing 737-990 ER 493AS (msn 41727). Here are the first photos from the unveiling ceremony.

Copyright Photos: Mark Durbin.

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Alaska Air Group announces the closing of the acquisition of Virgin America, no decision on the Virgin America brand

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Alaska Air Group Inc. on December 14, 2016 announced it has closed its acquisition of Virgin America. The definitive merger agreement, which was signed in April and approved by Virgin America shareholders in July, brings together two of the country’s favorite airlines into a unified force that will provide an attractive alternative to the “Big 4” airlines that currently control 84 percent of the domestic market.

Alaska Airlines and Virgin America will spend the next year working to secure Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification to allow the two airlines to operate as a single carrier (with regional sister carrier Horizon Air remaining on its own separate operating certificate).

Today, Alaska Air Group boasts nearly 1,200 daily flights to 118 destinations, the most seats on flights from the West Coast and more than $7 billion annual revenues. Alaska Air Group will continue to provide customers the low fares, unmatched reliability and award-winning service they’ve come to enjoy, while offering a convenient schedule of flights to even more of the places they want to fly. Soon Virgin America customers will have access to a route network that offers six times more daily flights than before.

The combination expands service and provides more frequent connections to international airline partners in thriving technology markets in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Seattle/Tacoma.

Together, the airlines offer 289 daily flights to 52 destinations from California, including 113 daily nonstop flights to 32 destinations from three Bay Area airports and 105 daily nonstop flights to 37 destinations from four Los Angeles area airports.

In addition, the combination opens up growth opportunities in important East Coast business markets by increasing Alaska Air Group’s access to high-demand airports like Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and the three primary New York City-area airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport.

The company also announced new flights from its San Francisco hub to Orlando (daily), Minneapolis/St. Paul (twice daily) and Orange County, California (four times daily) beginning in the summer of 2017.

The combination expands service and provides more frequent connections to international airline partners in thriving technology markets in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Seattle. Together, the airlines offer 289 daily flights to 52 destinations from California, including 113 daily nonstop flights to 32 destinations from three Bay Area airports and 105 daily nonstop flights to 37 destinations from four Los Angeles area airports.

In addition, the combination opens up growth opportunities in important East Coast business markets by increasing Alaska Air Group’s access to high-demand airports like Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and the three primary New York City-area airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport.

The company also announced new flights from its San Francisco hub to Orlando (daily), Minneapolis (twice daily) and Orange County, California (four times daily) beginning in the summer of 2017.

To celebrate the merger of two beloved West Coast airlines, Alaska leaders will join employees from Virgin America, Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air on December 14, 2016 at San Francisco International Airport for the unveiling of a co-branded Boeing 737 featuring a special, one-time livery painted in shimmering red, purple and blue. The aircraft features the slogan “More to love” and will fly throughout Alaska Airlines’ route network starting the same day, in celebration of the increased customer benefits of the combination.

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China Southern Airlines and Virgin America to expand their codeshare agreement

China Southern Airlines Boeing 777-31B ER B-2029 (msn 43224) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 930493.

Virgin America (San Francisco) and China Southern Airlines (Guangzhou) have announced a codeshare agreement to offer seamless booking and travel between China, Southeast Asia and multiple Virgin America destinations across the United States.

Under the new agreement, China Southern will place its two-digit airline code (CZ) and flight numbers on a range of Virgin America routes operating from Los Angeles and San Francisco – including West Coast flights to and from Boston, Chicago, Dallas Love Field, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Newark, New York (JFK), Seattle, San Diego and Washington DC.

This partnership will bring expanded choice and convenience for travelers flying between China Southern’s numerous Chinese and Southeast Asia destinations and the United States. This agreement is unique in that China Southern is the only airline offering non-stop service between Guangzhou and Wuhan and the United States.

China Southern offers daily flights from Guangzhou to San Francisco (three flights per week with one stop in Wuhan), ten flights per week from Guangzhou to Los Angeles, and daily flights from Guangzhou to New York.

This new agreement builds and expands on China Southern’s existing interline arrangement with Virgin America. China Southern is Virgin America’s sixth codeshare agreement and joins the airline’s growing partner portfolio.

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. China Southern’s Boeing 777-31B ER B-2029 (msn 43224) departs from Los Angeles.

Below Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Virgin America’s Airbus A320-214 N855VA (msn 5179) prepares to land at Washington (Reagan National).

Virgin America Airbus A320-214 N855VA (msn 5179) DCA (Brian McDonough). Image: 930492.

Virgin America aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

China Southern aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

 

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Virgin America to lease 10 Airbus A321neo aircraft from GECAS

 

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GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), the commercial aircraft leasing and financing arm of GE, has announced it signed an agreement with Virgin America, Inc. (San Francisco), to lease 10 new Airbus A321neo aircraft powered by CFM’s LEAP-1A engines to expand the carrier’s fleet.

The first aircraft is scheduled for delivery in in the first quarter of 2017 and the remainder will deliver in 2017 and 2018. All 10 aircraft are part of GECAS’ existing orderbook with Airbus.

Virgin America A321neo (Airbus)(LR)

Image: Airbus.

The A321neo, featuring Airbus’ “Sharklets” and CFM’s LEAP-1A engines (above), delivers per seat fuel savings of up to 20 percent, and provide the best seat-mile costs of any single-aisle aircraft on the market.

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Virgin America also made this announcement:

Virgin America has announced it has agreed to acquire 10 new state-of-the-art Airbus A321neo aircraft, which are up to 20 percent more fuel and carbon efficient than the airline’s current fleet and which will help further reduce operating unit costs and increase revenue opportunities. The 10 new A321neos (short for New Engine Option), which provide the best seat-mile costs of any single-aisle aircraft on the market, are slated for delivery beginning in the first quarter of 2017 continuing through the third quarter of 2018, and will be leased from GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS).

With this delivery schedule, Virgin America is expected to be among the first airlines globally to operate A321neo aircraft powered by CFM International LEAP-1A engines. The new neo engine option significantly reduces noise levels, with half the noise footprint compared to the ceo engine option[1]. The aircraft will come equipped with fuel-saving Sharklet wingtip devices, similar to the equipment on the airline’s most recent aircraft deliveries, which began service in fall 2015, and the aircraft promise nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions that are 50 percent below regulatory limits outlined by the Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP). In addition, the aircraft promise to deliver up to 20 percent reduced fuel burn over current generation aircraft per seat, which is equivalent to cutting 5,000 tons of CO2 emissions per plane every year.

In addition to their environmental and sustainability benefits, the new A321neos will position Virgin America to take advantage of new revenue opportunities and further improve its unit costs. With its stretched fuselage and cabin innovations, the aircraft allows for more seating capacity without sacrificing the award-winning guest experience the airline has become known for over the past eight years. The aircraft will be configured for Virgin America to include 185 total seats, roughly 24 percent more seating capacity than the airline’s existing A320 aircraft. The A321neo has a similar configuration to – and will feature 95 percent airframe commonality with – other aircraft in the Airbus A320 Family, thereby ensuring a seamless fit into Virgin America’s existing fleet of A320s and A319s. By operating a single fleet type, Virgin America is able to avoid the costs and added operational complexity that come with maintaining different fleet types.

 

This announcement by Virgin America reinforces the airline’s commitment to sustainability and minimizing its carbon footprint by investing in the latest aircraft and engine technologies. Virgin America maintains a relatively young fleet that, even prior to the addition of these new, greener A321neos, is already 15 percent more fuel efficient than the U.S. industry average. Recently, Virgin America joined forces with NASA to test new software created by the space agency that will help reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions. The technology connects to existing cockpit systems and allows for easier, more automatic route optimization, which could eventually help Virgin America use up to 1.4 million fewer gallons of fuel every year. Virgin America was also the first U.S. airline to document its carbon footprint via the Climate Registry’s accepted standards.

Furthering its green credentials, in 2011, Virgin America opened its sleek and energy-efficient new home at San Francisco International Airport’s Terminal 2 (T2). The Terminal achieved LEED® Gold-certification, and Virgin America’s T2 office spaces in 2012 achieved the highest possible LEED® Platinum-certification. Both the Gold and Platinum levels are the first such certifications for a major commercial airport in the U.S. The airline’s Burlingame, California Headquarters has a LEED®-certified Silver standard and has an Energy Star Rating of 87 out of 100.

Virgin America currently operates a fleet of 58 Airbus A320 Family aircraft comprised of A319 and A320 aircraft equipped with original “ceo” engine options. By mid-2016, Virgin America will have taken delivery of five additional A320ceos, bringing the total size of Virgin America’s fleet to 63 aircraft before the new A321neos begin to arrive in 2017.

 

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Virgin America begins flying from San Francisco to Maui, Hawaii

Named "Pineapple Express" for Hawaii service (Hula Girl)

Virgin America (San Francisco) yesterday (December 3) launched the San Francisco – Kahului, Maui route. The new route will be operated three days a week.

In November, Virgin America launched daily nonstop flights from San Francisco to Honolulu.

The Hawaii flights will be operated with new Airbus A320 aircraft that are equipped with fuel-saving, ‘sharklet’ wingtip devices, allowing the airline to operate flights more efficiently, especially over longer haul routes.

Copyright Photo: Andres Meneses/AirlinersGallery.com. Featuring an image of a Hula Girl and named “Pineapple Express”, Airbus A320-214 N281VA (msn 6669) is one of the aircraft assigned to the flights to Hawaii.

Virgin America aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Video: On November 2, Virgin America celebrated the launch of new daily nonstop flights from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Honolulu International Airport (HNL) with a series of festive events in San Francisco and Honolulu – including the opportunity for workaholics to score the ultimate #Hawaiiscape with Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson. Virgin America teamed up with Airbnb to encourage travelers to “Work Hard, Hawai‘i Hard” by experiencing all that the Aloha state has to offer. On December 3, the airline’s Hawai‘i schedule grew again with daily nonstop flights from SFO to Maui’s Kahului Airport (OGG).

Richard Branson helps Virgin America launch flights to Hawaii

Virgin America arrives in Hawaii (VA)(LRW)

Virgin America (San Francisco) yesterday (November 2) celebrated the launch of new daily nonstop flights from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Honolulu International Airport (HNL) with a series of festive events in San Francisco and Honolulu.

Virgin America FAs (VA)(LRW)

On December 3, the airline’s Hawai’i schedule grows again with daily nonstop flights from SFO to Maui’s Kahului Airport (OGG).

Virgin America A320 Pineapple Express (VA)(LRW)

Virgin America will fly to Hawai’i with its newest Airbus A320 aircraft, equipped with fuel-saving ‘sharklet’ wingtip devices. Earlier this year, the airline completed the Federal Aviation Administration’s Extended Operation certification in order to operate longer range overwater flights. The first of Virgin America’s aircraft to fly to Hawai’i was named “Pineapple Express” (above) by the airline’s teammates and features a surfer girl image created by street/tattoo artist Si Scott.

Photos: Virgin America.

Virgin America aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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Virgin America reports 3Q GAAP net income of $71.9 million

Virgin America (San Francisco) reported its financial results for the third quarter of 2015. Key highlights from the third quarter include:

  • Third quarter 2015 net income was $73.0 million excluding special items1, an increase of $31.3 million from the third quarter of 2014. Operating income and operating margin excluding special items were $75.0 million and 18.2 percent, respectively.
  • On a GAAP basis, net income was $71.9 million. Operating income and operating margin on a GAAP basis were $73.9 million and 18.0 percent, respectively.
  • Fully diluted earnings per share excluding special items was $1.64. On a GAAP basis, fully diluted earnings per share was $1.61.

“Virgin America continued its strong financial performance in the third quarter with record earnings and margins,” said David Cush, Virgin America’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We believe we are well-positioned to grow the airline while maintaining our low cost model, driving year-over-year industry unit revenue outperformance and improving ancillary revenue. We’re also investing in our product so that we can continue improving what is already the best, most consistent guest experience in the industry.”

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 N634VA (msn 3359) taxies to the runway at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Virgin America aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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