Alaska Airways acquired Virgin America last year but remained two different companies with different fleets, until now. Alaska Airlines has received a single operating certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) formally merging Alaska and Virgin, marking another significant milestone in the aviation world with the integration of the two well respected smaller airlines.
"This is a big moment for our company. We’re now recognized as a one airline in the eyes of the FAA,” said Ben Minicucci, Alaska Airlines’ president and chief operating officer and CEO of Virgin America.
When Alaska and Virgin America move to a single reservations system in late April 2018, guests can expect a more streamlined travel experience, with the Alaska mobile app and website serving their travel needs an airline spokesperson said. Another spokesperson said that the merger strengthens the new company as a competitor to the four largest U.S airlines. For example, now Alaska will have 1200 flights per day versus American, the world’s largest airline has 3400.
The bright red livery splash of Virgin America is gone. Within months the merger will be complete and the friendly Eskimo face on the Alaska tail will welcome both former Virgin passengers and continue to welcome Alaska patrons.
Richard Branson’s investment group realized $770 million from the sale but wasn’t happy since he felt that the Virgin brand was being destroyed. But because of legalities with foreign partnership his vote was not enough to over ride the sale of the airline to Alaska.
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