Virgin America is branding as “completely false” a report that says it intends to launch a largely no-frills transatlantic service, flightglobal can reveal.
“It is absolutely wrong that we’re planning transatlantic flights,” says Virgin America’s spokesman, adding that the carrier is “absolutely not” in talks for widebody aircraft.
While the planned US start-up would “never rule it out in the future” there is “nothing to these reports”, he says.
Citing Virgin sources, the UK’s Financial Mail is reporting that Virgin America wants to take on Ryanair, which last week revealed exclusively to Flightglobal that it plans to launch a transatlantic no-frills airline with a fleet of 50 Airbus A350s or Boeing 787s. The Financial Mail report, dated yesterday, says Virgin America is looking at the Airbus A330, the A350 and the 787 to compete on the longer-haul routes.
San Francisco-based Virgin America has been trying to launch domestic low-cost service for years, but questions about its citizenship - and the carrier’s relationship with British entrepreneur Richard Branson and his Virgin Group - have stalled the process of attaining US certification. In March, the DOT tentatively ruled that Virgin America’s reconfigured structure put the start-up “back on track to meet strict US citizenship tests under federal law”.
The airline, which will operate a fleet of Airbus A320 family aircraft, has already said its first route will be a nonstop service between its base and New York JFK.
Separately, JetBlue Airways today also confirmed to Flight's sister publication, ATI that it is also not currently interested in creating a rival service to Ryanair’s planned transatlantic offering, and will instead look at building international partnerships.
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