Inside these posts: Richard Branson

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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 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 »