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Alaska to retire Virgin America brand in 2019

Alaska Air Group will retire the Virgin America brand in 2019, bringing the entire operation under the Alaska Airlines name.

The news comes after months of speculation about whether Alaska, which acquired Virgin America in late 2016, would keep its brand, which is viewed as having broad marketing value.

"We concluded that to be successful on the West Coast we had to do so under one name – for consistency and efficiency, and to allow us to continue to deliver low fares," says Alaska's vice-president of marketing Sangita Woerner in a media release.

Though it will ditch the Virgin brand, Alaska says it will retain many of the features that made the Virgin America product appealing to travellers.

The company intends to update its airport lobbies and aircraft, outfit employees in new uniforms in 2019, introduce new seats and equip Boeing 737s with "expressive blue mood lighting", the airline says.

It will also equip all 737s with high-speed satellite wireless internet beginning in fall 2018, and will refresh airport lounges.

In addition, Alaska will increase the number of premium seats on Virgin America's Airbus A320 aircraft beginning in 2018.

It will increase from eight to 12 the number of first class seats on the A320s, and equip those aircraft with 18 premium seats in economy, Alaska says.

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