This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS - See his portfolio and get alerts BEFORE every trade. Learn more NOW!

Virgin America Gears Up for Debut

Virgin America will finally take off Wednesday, three years after the start-up carrier unveiled its initial operating plan.

A lot has changed in that time. Most importantly, Virgin's base, San Francisco International Airport, welcomed two low-cost rivals. JetBlue (JBLU - Get Report) began flying from there to New York's Kennedy Airport in May, and Southwest (LUV - Get Report) will begin flying Aug. 26 to Chicago, San Diego and Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, a succession of bankruptcies caused costs to plummet at the legacy carriers that fly many of the trans-continental routes being targeted by Virgin America. Costly flight delays surged at the major airports Virgin wants to serve. And the Transportation Department ruled earlier this year that Virgin CEO Fred Reid must leave his post six months after the airline starts flying.

Virgin announced its name, its order for Airbus jets and the basics of an operating plan in June 2004. It applied to the DOT in December 2005, triggering objections from U.S. carriers and labor unions.

This past May, after continuing adjustments by Virgin, the agency mandated various additional changes -- including Reid's departure -- to ensure that Virgin's relationship with U.K.-based Virgin Group and its chairman, Richard Branson, does not violate requirements mandating that U.S. citizens control U.S. airlines.

Reid says Virgin has not been deterred, but instead has adapted. "We're not as transcontinental -centric as we were thinking two or three years ago," he said in a recent interview. "The way things will look now will be a little different."

The 57-year-old sounds resigned to his departure. "Nobody expected the cards to fall that way," he says. "It's bizarre, but if that's what it takes to get this off the ground, I will try not to take it personally."

On Wednesday, the carrier will inaugurate service from San Francisco to New York and L.A., as it begins to implement a strategy of establishing itself at major airports and then filling in the gaps. On Aug. 29, it will begin New York-Los Angeles flights. It will add San Francisco-Washington Dulles on Sept. 26, San Francisco-Las Vegas on Oct. 10, and Los Angeles-Dulles on Oct. 24.

1 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Try it NOW
Only $9.95
Try it NOW
14-Days Free
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DAL $44.11 -0.63%
JBLU $17.27 -1.20%
LUV $43.55 -1.20%
AAPL $127.72 1.00%
FB $80.48 -0.90%


DOW 17,930.70 -205.02 -1.13%
S&P 500 2,081.07 -19.97 -0.95%
NASDAQ 4,944.8960 -37.9130 -0.76%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs