SAN FRANCISCO, May 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Virgin America, the only major airline headquartered in California, received U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) approval today to launch one daily nonstop flight between its home base of San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). Virgin America plans to initiate the new service later this summer, subject to finalizing flight schedule times with DOT.
"We are pleased to have the opportunity to bring our unique brand of service to this underserved route – and to better connect one of the world's leading economies to our nation's capital," said David Cush, President and CEO of Virgin America. "Until this year, San Francisco has been the largest travel market in the nation previously without nonstop flights to DCA, and local travelers and businesses deserved better. Thanks to the outpouring of community support for our application from Bay Area elected officials, civic groups and business organizations and the DOT's decision today, we will finally be able to provide local flyers and businesses with more choice and meaningful low fare competition."
The new route became available following the enactment of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 which authorized the DOT to award a limited number of new flights to U.S. domestic airports located beyond DCA's 1,250-mile "perimeter limit." Multiple carriers filed competing proposals for new DCA services earlier this year for the valuable "beyond perimeter" slots that allow carriers to fly nonstop to cities more than 1,250 miles from DCA.
Most of the prior "beyond perimeter" awards had been made to non-California airports. Smaller markets awarded DCA flights in the past include: Denver (four frequencies), Seattle (two frequencies) and Phoenix (three frequencies). Despite its size and the importance of Northern California's innovation-based technology sector to the national economy, prior to this year the Bay Area never had nonstop service to DCA. As a result, local consumers and businesses suffered for decades with higher fares and limited choices – either flying to Washington Dulles or taking one-stop connecting flights when traveling to downtown Washington, D.C.
With fleetwide WiFi, power outlets, touch-screen live entertainment and new aircraft with three classes of service, Virgin America's business-friendly product has offered a unique new option for local businesses and flyers.
Virgin America is one of the few growing airlines in the U.S. In addition to the airline's impact on fares and service, Virgin America's decision to headquarter in California has created thousands of local jobs. Since its launch in 2007, the airline has expanded to 18 new markets and created more than 2,600 new jobs. Virgin America flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C. (Dulles), Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Cabos, Cancun, Chicago, Puerto Vallarta, Palm Springs, Philadelphia, Portland (as of June 5, 2012) and Washington Reagan National (as of later this year).
About Virgin America: Headquartered in California, Virgin America is a new domestic airline that offers guests attractive fares and a host of innovative features aimed at reinventing air travel. As the only airline headquartered in the Bay Area, Virgin America's principle base of operations is San Francisco International Airport's (SFO) sleek and sustainable new Terminal Two (T2) – the first LEED® Gold-certified airport terminal in the U.S. As one of the few expanding U.S. airlines, Virgin America has grown from a few hundred teammates in 2007 to 2,600 today. Known for beautifully-designed planes with WiFi, power outlets and touch-screen entertainment at every seat, Virgin America has swept the travel awards since its 2007 launch, including being named "Best U.S. Airline" in Conde Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice Awards and Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards. The airline's new aircraft offer interactive in-flight entertainment systems and power outlets near every seat. For more: www.virginamerica.com
SOURCE Virgin America