Virgin America

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Virgin to enter O’Hare; makes Groupon splash

A Virgin America Airbus A319 airplane. (Charlotte Southern/Bloomberg)

By Julie Johnsson and Wailin Wong | Virgin America entered the Chicago market Wednesday with typical flair, unveiling a Groupon Deal of the Day that slashed prices on its new West Coast service to $128 round-trip.

The deeply discounted deal was the first air fare to be featured on Chicago-based Groupon and sold out in Chicago in just 8 minutes, said Virgin America spokewoman Abby Lunardini. Within 45 minutes, Virgin’s Groupon offer had sold out in San Francisco and Los Angeles, a total of 2,100 fares in all.
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O’Hare deal would open gates for Virgin America

The city of Chicago has struck a deal with Delta Air Lines that could pave the way for upstart Virgin America to begin service at O’Hare International Airport.

A proposed ordinance introduced by Mayor Daley in city council Wednesday would give the city control over the L concourse gates in Terminal 3. The gates have been largely vacant since Nov. 17, 2009, when Delta shifted its operations at O’Hare to merger partner Northwest Airline’s base in Terminal 2. Get the full story »

10,000th sale lifts Airbus past Boeing in 2010

European planemaker Airbus scored a surprise victory in the annual orders race against Boeing and celebrated the 10,000th plane sale in its 40-year history with a $5 billion order from Virgin America. A last-minute surge pushed Airbus past its U.S. rival for a third year as it held onto a net order market share of 52 percent in the face of a resurgent Boeing, which was hit by cancellations in 2009 due to delays to its 787 Dreamliner. Get the full story »

Virgin America sets its sights on O’Hare again

Virgin America is once again looking to land at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in 2011, provided it can finalize an agreement with the city of Chicago to take over gates vacated by Delta Air Lines last year.

Virgin America CEO David Cush said Tuesday that talks were progressing and he was optimistic the carrier would begin daily flights from Chicago to Los Angeles and San Francisco next April.

“I think the city has certainly moved the process forward,” said Cush, saying he expected to hammer out an agreement in the next 30 to 45 days. “I’m more encouraged today than I was 60 days ago.” Get the full story »

Virgin America CEO says trail ‘cold’ for Chicago service

After failing for more than two years to secure airport gates in Chicago, Virgin America will begin flights to and from Dallas, its first mid-continent destination and a rare foray by a low-cost carrier into the “fortress hubs” dominated by network airlines.

Virgin America has also been trying to start services from Chicago O’Hare — a hub dominated by American and United–for more than two years, but David Cush, Virgin America’s chief executive, said he was less optimistic than ever that it could reach a deal with the city. Get the full story »

Virgin America to fly from Chicago next year

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin America is again planning to enter the Chicago market. Doing so would enable travelers to connect to Virgin Atlantic, pictured here at its 2007 O'Hare debut. (Charles Cherney/Chicago Tribune)

Virgin America plans to wing its way into Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport next year, part of an aggressive expansion that could triple the low-cost carrier’s size by 2016.

Virgin intends to challenge the duopoly held by American and United Airlines on direct flights from O’Hare to Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International, flights popular with business travelers and, on occasion, movie stars.

San Francisco-based Virgin, founded in 2007, has quickly won a rabid fan base for its mood lighting and edgy customer amenities. All of its aircraft are outfitted with high-speed Internet connections, while its recently upgraded inflight menu includes less traditional items like tapas plates. Get the full story »