SAN FRANCISCO (TheStreet) -- Virgin America's seventh year could be a defining one, as the carrier -- recently grown into profitability -- seeks new routes in key aviation markets and also looks to an initial public offering by the end of 2014.
As for the IPO, "we are watching the markets," said Virgin America CEO David Cush, in an interview. "They're a little bit choppy, which bodes well for waiting until they're in good shape. We think the company will be ready later this year."
In the third quarter, Virgin reported net income of $33.5 million, an operating margin of 11.5% and revenue per available seat mile growth of 9.4%, highest in the industry. Fourth-quarter results will be announced this month. Why the late reporting? "We are last in line with Ernst & Young," Cush said. "They do the public ones first."
By next year, that could be a problem Virgin no longer has.
The IPO could conceivably come as Virgin ramps up service at three new airports, all made available by the divestitures required in the merger of American Airlines (AAL) and US Airways. Virgin will have four daily departures at Washington Reagan National and six at New York LaGuardia. Now it wants in at Dallas Love Field, where American is required to divest its two gates.
The expansion plans mark the first time Virgin would offer flights not involving LAX and its hub at San Francisco International, with the exception of a JFK-Las Vegas flight.