Virgin America To Unveil Two New Cities By Yearend
Two new destinations should show up on Virgin America's route map within the next three months as the airline's fleet grows to 12 aircraft by the end of November.
Airline VP-Planning and Sales Brian Clark told The DAILY at the launch of the SFO-IAD service that while the carrier couldn't detail the next destinations, metropolitan areas such as New York, Washington and Los Angeles fit well with the Virgin brand.
Virgin America CEO Fred Reid took a broader view noting that flying to nine of the 15 top markets from both Los Angeles and San Francisco has "S curve attributes" -- meaning these markets can sustain cycles of a slow start, rapid growth and then a leveling off.
Operationally, Virgin America is on aggregate performing better than market competitors in terms of controllable delays, Reid noted. He added that during the first month of operations the carrier's planes were more than 80% full.
Comparing Virgin America to U.S. legacy carriers, Reid claims the upstart's unit costs are 30%-60% lower. But he pays attention to JetBlue and Southwest "more than anyone else," due to those carriers' cultures and treatment of customers.
Reid is also pushing for Virgin America to find multiple partners for its Elevate frequent flyer program -- and eventually reach codeshare deals -- early next year.
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