New York: Virgin America: What it was like on the Airline’s final flight. It’s the dawn of a new era. Farewell, Virgin. Goodbye। It was the end of an iconic brand, the US’ first startup airline in the Internet age.
VX1182 took off from San Francisco on April 24 at 9:30pm with a black sky. The final Virgin America flight revved its engines and took off for one last ride. When the aircraft landed in Newark the next morning, the Virgin brand and operation ceased to exist, to be replaced by the airline’s new owner, Alaska Airlines.
Founded in 2007, Virgin America was Richard Branson’s third iteration of his Virgin brand in aviation after starting two other successful carriers, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia. Virgin America grew over nine years until Alaska bought it from a tiny operation at SFO to an airline with 29 destinations and 69 aircraft.
In 2016, Alaska purchased Virgin for $2.6 billion. But one of the results of the merger was that the Virgin brand would fade away. The deal closed in early 2017, but it wasn’t until January that Alaska and Virgin became one and received a single operating certificate unifying the two carriers.
Virgin had a fleet composed entirely of Airbus narrow body jets, with 10 A319-100s, 50 A320-200s, and six A321neos. The future of the Airbus fleet is in question as Alaska absorbs the European-made jets into its fleet of Boeing 737s like the one below.