Alaska Airlines and Virgin America have announced their intention to merge.
The decision will result in Alaska Airlines being able to expand its existing footprint in California and make it a viable competitor to the four largest U.S. airlines. Virgin America has a strong foundation in California and will combine well with Alaska Airlines' well-established core markets in the Pacific Northwest and the state of Alaska.
"With our expanded network and strong presence in California, we'll offer customers more attractive flight options for nonstop travel. We look forward to bringing together two incredible groups of employees to build on the successes they have achieved as standalone companies to make us an even stronger competitor nationally.” said Brad Tilden, chairman and CEO of Alaska Air Group.
David Cush, Virgin America president and CEO said, "Our mission has always been to create an airline that people love – and we accomplished that while changing the industry for the better.”
“Joining forces with Alaska Airlines will ensure that our mission lives on, and that the stronger, combined company will continue to be a great place to work and an airline that focuses on an outstanding travel experience."
Together, the combined airline will have:
• 1,200 daily departures, with hubs in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Anchorage, Alaska, and Portland, Oregon.
• Approximately 280 aircraft, which include regional planes, with an average age of 8.5 years.
• Virgin America's fleet of 60 Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft boast three classes of service, in-flight WiFi and power outlets on every flight, as well as personal, touch-screen seatback entertainment.