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Could PHL Be The Home For The New Virgin America?  
User currently offlineSunValley From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3829 times:

New Virgin airline in talks with Phila. about HQ
Larry Rulison
Virgin Group -- the $5 billion British conglomerate that operates Virgin Atlantic Airways -- is in talks with Philadelphia and Pennsylvania officials about locating the headquarters for a new low-cost airline in the city.


Economic development officials are pitching the Philadelphia Naval Business Center -- the former Navy Yard -- as the headquarters location for the new airline, which is going to be called Virgin USA, said Elinor Haider, an assistant vice president with the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. Virgin USA could provide hundreds of jobs for Philadelphia, and it would also provide flights in and out of Philadelphia International Airport and other major airports, she said.

Other major cities on both coasts are competing against Philadelphia for the headquarters location. Haider wouldn't reveal the names of those cities, but an Oct. 6 story in the San Francisco Business Times, a sister publication of the Philadelphia Business Journal, said that Philadelphia is competing against San Francisco; New York; Washington, D.C.; Boston and Los Angeles for Virgin USA's headquarters and 500 jobs that would go with it.

Haider couldn't confirm that number, but she believes it would initially be more like the "low 100s" and then it would grow larger as the new venture grows.

PIDC, the city's Department of Commerce, the Governor's Action Team and the airport are involved in the discussions. The Governor's Action Team is a group of state economic development specialists that report directly to Gov. Ed Rendell. The PIDC is a private, nonprofit organization that acts as the city's economic-development arm. It typically works in concert with the city's Commerce Department on deals. City Commerce Director James Cuorato could not be reached for comment.

Haider says the new airline, which is still being formed, is working out of offices in New York. But she said the city and state have had "initial discussions" with Virgin about putting its headquarters in Philadelphia, and Virgin officials toured the former Navy Yard in August. A decision is expected within several months, she said.

Haider says she believes Philadelphia has an advantage over other cities because the PIDC owns the real estate it is pitching to Virgin and the site is close to the airport, which the city also owns. In addition, the cost of living is cheaper in Philadelphia than in other cities, she said, and that is important to the types of employees that Virgin USA would need to hire, including pilots, flight attendants and reservations personnel.

"It's really an ideal location for them," Haider said. "I feel very enthusiastic about it."

Virgin officials in New York who are fielding calls about Virgin USA did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Kim McFadden, regional director of the Governor's Action Team, said she could not comment.

Philadelphia International Airport spokesman Mark Pesce confirmed that airport officials are also working on the deal as it relates to service in and out of Philadelphia International.

If Virgin USA were to decide to run service out of Philadelphia International, it would be the second high-profile, low-cost airline to chose Philadelphia recently. In late October, Southwest Airlines Inc. announced it would start service out of Philadelphia in 2004. The move is expected to drive down prices and put pressure of US Airways Group Inc., which has a hub in Philadelphia.





17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePVD757 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3413 posts, RR: 16
Reply 1, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3800 times:

If that's from the Phildelphia Business journal, they really don't do their homework. No foreign airline is starting an HQ in PHL when there is a limit on foreign ownership. Notice how the savvy business writer never picked up on this concept. Way to go hack!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

User currently offlineLuv2fly From United States of America, joined May 2003, 12110 posts, RR: 48
Reply 2, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3769 times:
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Also who does not think for a minute that AA is going to raise holy hell about this, just like Sir Richard did for the no way AA/BA on the side of his planes. And AA is headquartered in TX and just who is in the big house as we speak. The song is "You have a friend in TX."


You can cut the irony with a knife
User currently offlineSunValley From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3765 times:

VD757,- Branson has been looking at starting an American LCC for 4 years now. Where have you been? He knows fully well that he can only own 49% of the carrier, but has American Interests in his Virign Group who will more thancomensate for that. Get with the program and read about the industry VD!

User currently offlineCvervais From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 610 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3752 times:

I for one would love to see a LCC operate out of or to PHL.

I'm a regular personal (meaning I pay for it) traveller to PHL. My wife's family and all her friends live there.

The first year we were dating while she was living in PHL and I was living in SJC (not the actual airports silly) I was able to fly RT on UAL for $220 from SFO direct to PHL. Quite a bargin. This was 2001.

Nowadays it's more like $370. However, going into say BWI where WN flies it's much cheaper.

So, I personally would love to see a LCC drop into PHL and bring down the fares like they do at other airports.


User currently offlinePVD757 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3413 posts, RR: 16
Reply 5, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3741 times:

Alright unValley, why is he lobying to try to change the rule and why hasn't he started the darn thing then? Gee it took two years to start his ops in Australia. What seems to be the problem?

User currently offlineSunValley From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3727 times:

VD-I guess time will tell won't it.

User currently offlineJayDavis From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 2000 posts, RR: 15
Reply 7, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3721 times:

This is common knowledge that Branson cannot own majority control of an airline in the US. It is against the law. He can however, own a minority control and let some other investor actually own the majority share. But don't think that for one minute that Branson's hand will not be all over that new airline, where ever it is based in the US.

Also, just because its headquarters are in PHL, doesn't mean they are going to operate a "hub" at PHL. This is just the actual building for holding the headquarters of the airline, or at least that is what I am understanding.

Virgin Atlantic's North American office is located in CT if I am not mistaken.

I just really wonder if there is room for another LCC in the US? You've already got WN, FL, F9, B6 and ATA............along with Song and "Ted" !!


Jay


User currently offlineSunValley From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3685 times:

Jay, you are very correct. Branson is someone who if he is presented obstacles, becomes even more motivated to make whatever it is he has planned work. I do believe that the Virgin Group has some of the most
unconventional marketing schemes of any airline out there. If TED thinks they are going to win over that 18-27 year old group, I think that will only add fuel to Bransons fire. He loves controversy. You really could call him the
Madonna of the worlds airlines.
As to PHL, you are so correct. The article does not state that it would be their hub.


User currently offlinePVD757 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3413 posts, RR: 16
Reply 9, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3688 times:

If I was a betting man un Valley I would put stock in Branson propping up somebody else like ACA for example. There is defintiely no love loss between Star and VS. Besides, time has already told you what is going to happen. The US is and always will be the largest market for air travel. Why does every foreign airline want 5th Freedom rights(Cabotage for you un Valley, please follow along) for this country? No US carrier is beating down the door to serve Edinburgh to Cork.

User currently offlineSunValley From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3676 times:

VD, he has allready said he dosen't want a problem allready created, and existing airliness are problems to him. By the way- ACA anounces their business model on Wednesday.

User currently offlinePVD757 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3413 posts, RR: 16
Reply 11, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3650 times:

Yeah it should some great announcement: "We decided to undermine and destroy the only thing we know how to do, oh and by the way, we will be bought out by Mesa because we have no way of fighting it. Thanks for coming today."

The previous posts have already inferred that he would basically run it not officially control it. ACA like you said, hasn't announced their plan yet. If you ignore the above sarcasm, what makes you thibk that Branson couldn't pull their strings to get what he wants? Just because they had a bad relationship with UA, does not mean they are a problem. They would probably welcome the help because UA will bury them the first chance possible. Bank on that.


User currently offlineSunValley From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3636 times:

OK , I apologize for the sarcasm I exhibited to you. My feeling is still that Branson will start a carrier in the US, will compete head to toe with B6 more soe than WN, and take over the "Chic" and "In" crowds in the 18-27 year old group, adn devleop an extremely loyal following for his American Airline.

If you would be interested (& not insinuating you are) Branson has a very interesting book out that he talks about starting airlines, and what drives him to do it, and how if he is told "NO' it only drives him to excel and do it anyway.
The book is called "Losing My Virginity", How I've survived, Had Fun, & Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way

[Edited 2003-11-18 01:38:36]

User currently offlineCLEspotter From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 43 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 3583 times:

Would love to see them in CLE.

User currently offlineCopaair737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 3543 times:

I sure hope SFO is chosen, I think that it would be a good choice, as SFO is a good market for VS. Routes to LAX, PDX, SEA, DEN, and maybe PHX or LAS could be started from there.

User currently offlineSprxflySWA From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 597 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 3537 times:

I think his US investor group is: Frank Lorenzo, Michael Conroy, Ed Beauvis (sp?)to go along w/ PIT project, and Donald Burr! This has success written all over it. In fact, that will be its name SUCCESS .  Big grin

User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16872 posts, RR: 51
Reply 16, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 3502 times:

As long as he finds investors to take 51% ownership stake in the Company, the more investors the more dilluted their shares become making Bransons stake more important.

There's absolutely nothing preventing foreign companies from setting up shop in the US, actualy it's encouraged.

The only ownership rules for the airline industry is not to have more than half control of voting rights and or ownership, getting back to the main point..

Virgin USA sets up shop in Philly, US Airways is in big trouble.

To me it looks as though the Philadelphia airport/City folks are not going to put all their eggs in one basket, Philly's a big city. If US Airways goes down there will be airlines that fill the gap, both Domestically and Internationaly.



Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlineDeltaMD11 From United States of America, joined Dec 2002, 1701 posts, RR: 34
Reply 17, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 3440 times:

As PHL is my local major airport and all of my travel is conducted from there, I am thrilled with WN moving in soon, as well as the prospect of Virgin America. And as the above poster said, Branson can own 49%, and the more American investors in the ballgame the better as their shares will be significantly smaller-thus Branson has control of the game (or a hell of a lot of influence anyways).

Nobody has really been able to put a significant amount of pressure on US in PHL, and with WN in the game (and potentially Virgin) I'll be in my glory. Most of my travel is to the Southwestern US anyways. Hop on one of those lovely WN 737-700W's and off we go.



Too often we ... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. - John Fitzgerald Kennedy
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