Two weeks after proposed startup Virgin America’s application for certification was rejected by the US Department of Transportation, its would-be low-cost rival JetBlue Airways is seeking approval to review the San Francisco-based company’s confidential documents.
The confidentiality affidavit signed by JetBlue counsel Joanna Geraghty comes less than a week before the DoT’s newly extended 16 January deadline for Virgin America to appeal the regulator’s ruling.
Though certainly not the first carrier to solicit confidential information about Virgin America’s application (several US majors have viewed the data), JetBlue so far holds the distinction of being the only operator to request these documents following the DoT’s 27 December decision to block Virgin America’s certification.
The DoT based its decision on concerns that Virgin America’s management could be unduly influenced by its foreign owners, notably UK entrepreneur Richard Branson, and that its ownership structure breaches current US laws.
A JetBlue spokesman tells Flight: “Really, the reason why we’re doing this is because we remain interested in the competitive landscape.”
He adds: “We really don’t have much more we can share at this point.”