“Reports: Alaska Air close to deal to buy Virgin America”
“Alaska Airlines is close to a deal to buy San Francisco-based Virgin America, according to multiple reports out Saturday,” quoting KING-5 TV News.
Whether this deal is approved or not, Puget Sound customers of Alaska Airlines will be closely following this story of their hometown based airline.
As a former airline management staffer, these were my first thoughts on reading this:
* Alaska Air completed a fleet renewal/modification in going with all-Boeing 737 derivative aircraft to reduce costs. They have used this aircraft very innovatively with service to Hawai’i, as example. In a Virgin America merger, they would acquire a mixed fleet with added Airbus equipment, plus one of the worst on-time hubs in the U. S. – SFO.
* If this deal goes through, Delta was very forward-thinking to build-up Seattle with their own flights to feed their large international operation from here. Alaska Air turned down Delta’s offer to be the exclusive feeder airline for Delta in Seattle.
* If this merger concludes, will Alaska Air keep the Virgin America name to market to a national clientele base, rather than the regional name Alaska Air implies?
* This could portend another round of mergers among 2nd tier carriers. If the Alaska/Virgin America deal does not go through, then JetBlue will probably get Virgin. Then, will Alaska go courting a merger partner to substantially grow to compete? If so, who?
Whatever happens, with Alaska Airlines merger talk in-play, this will reverberate through the Seattle area. Alaska Air is very popular with Yelm blog readers.