Chief Executive Officer of Virgin America David Cush counters competitor claims that the carrier's fare prices are far below its costs.
The San Francisco-based carrier challenged entrenched Alaska Airlines in March and April with it launch of flights from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Seattle.
Alaska has stated its intention to compete fiercely with the new entrant in its markets. Carrier executive Brad Tilden recently claimed Virgin America's fares were way below "their costs and our costs".
Virgin America's Cush in a recent interview with ATI countered those claims stating: "We charge what the market will bear. We basically charge what Alaska charges."
Cush also believes that an airline's cost and fare prices have little to do with one another.
Noting that Virgin America's share in those markets is below 20%, Cush characterizes the carrier as a small player, "with a specialized and targeted product".
Both Virgin America and Alaska aim to offer connectivity on their respective fleets, with Cush pushing for the carrier's 28 aircraft to be equipped by the first half of 2009.
Alaska has been forced to delay its trial of Row 44's Ku band-based connectivity service after Row 44 encountered late breaking with the final certification of parts from one of its suppliers.
Virgin America, meanwhile, is offering connectivity through Aircell's air-to-ground product on three aircraft. Cush highlights the Aircell system requires three antennas and the whole kit weighs roughly 100lbs.