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Alaska Air’s acquisition of Virgin America is now official

Photo credit: Alaska Air Group, Inc.

– “Virgin America & Alaska Airlines join forces today.”
“It’s a big day here at Alaska—monumental, in fact. Today, our acquisition of Virgin America is official, and we have joined forces to become the fifth-largest airline in the country. We’re excited to share the news with you, along with our heartfelt thanks for being by our side as we spread our wings and significantly grow our route network, particularly in California.
We are now operating an expanded route network of nearly 1,200 daily departures to 118 destinations across the United States, Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, and Cuba—this represents almost one departure per minute! With hubs in Anchorage, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, we now offer the most non-stop West Coast departures of any airline, giving 50 million flyers more options every time they travel.

Starting Monday, December 19, you will be able to:
1. Earn Alaska miles on Virgin America flights.
• Earn miles on more flights across the U.S., including five times as many daily flights between the West Coast and New York.
• For our California customers, you’ll have double the daily flights from the Bay Area and LAX and nearly double the flight options within California.
2. Book Virgin America flights on alaskaair.com.
3. Receive priority check-in and boarding when flying on Virgin America for Mileage Plan™ MVP, Gold, and Gold 75K members.
Effective Monday, January 9, Mileage Plan members will be able to use miles for award travel on Virgin America,” quoting the Press Release.
Read more

– Bottom line from this Blogger:
Alaska is the premier Seattle airline and their focus must now shift to SFO, LAX and the East Coast (Boston, NYC, Washington, D. C., Ft. Lauderdale).
Virgin America’s huge hub, San Francisco, is continually ranked as the worst on-time hub in the U. S. due to the close proximity of runways, which will certainly affect the merged Alaska Air’s on-time performance, which usually is in the top 2-3 spots annually.
Alaska Air heavily invested in a move to T-6 at LAX. With Delta Airlines now acquiring Virgin’s T 2-3 for SkyTeam carriers (Delta, KLM, Air France, Virgin Australia), I foresee Alaska Air to merge Virgin America’s operations in T-6.
Delta has made Seattle their West Coast International Gateway and heavily invested in the fabric of the Puget Sound region. I look for Delta to make further inroads to dominate at Sea-Tac.
“And even if its planes don’t have mood lighting and order-at-your-seat screens like Virgin’s, Alaska runs a solid airline,” say the AP’s David Koenig & Scott Mayerowitz.

Alaska got their costs down with a single aircraft type, derivatives of their all-Boeing 737 fleet, and will now have a mixed fleet of Airbus 319 & 320 equipment.
Alaska has zero experience in the highly competitive Trans-con market from SFO & LAX to New York & Washington, D. C., except for one daily LAX to Washington-National flight (and one flight daily from San Diego to Boston).
Virgin is the ONLY airline flying LAX & SFO Trans-con routes with no flat-bed seats and ridiculously high fares for what they comparatively offer in these markets.
Alaska will have alot of catch-up to do in the premium Trans-con market. They now move to the 5th largest airline in America, ahead of JetBlue.

Puget Sound travelers will need to stay tuned for developments. Sea-Tac airline loyalties will now be in-play!

Posted by Steve on December 14, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

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