US planned startup Virgin America today officially submitted its application for certification with regulators, after securing $177.3m in launch capital.

The carrier in a statement says VAI Partners, an investment group funded by Black Canyon Capital and Cyrus Capital Partners, committed most of the funding and now controls Virgin America as its majority owner.

The Virgin Group of companies headed by Richard Branson is providing the remaining funding, and has assumed a minority stake in the operation, in accordance with US ownership laws.

“With the proceeds of this funding, Virgin America can now pursue important initiatives such as recruiting highly-talented people, initiating the US DOT and FAA certification processes, and developing awareness in the marketplace,” says newly appointed CEO Fred Reid in a statement.

Virgin America expects to launch Airbus A320 services next year.

The company, which previously planned to base its headquarters in New York and operations in California’s San Francisco Bay Area, has altered its plans and will now base all operations at the San Francisco Bay Area to “help foster better communication and reduce our overhead costs”.

Source: Flight International