Only two Virgin branded airlines will be left standing (flying) at the end of 2019, when Alaska Airlines phases out the Virgin America brand.

 

The airline confirmed plans to dump the brand this week, several months after Alaska Airlines purchased the fun and eye-catching carrier for some $2.6 billion.

According to reports, the Seattle-based airline’s Chief Executive Brad Tilden had initially considered running Virgin America as a separate airline in a bid to retain its customer base and loyal flyers.

Virgin America

Image: Virgin America

However, ultimately the cost of running two airlines under two brands outweighed the benefits.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin brand, seems to be struggling to come to terms with loss, saying in an online blog that “there is a point where we have to let go”.

Virgin America feature

Image: Virgin America

“Many years ago, I shed tears over selling my beloved Virgin Records for $1 billion, which we needed to fight off British Airways’ Dirty Tricks campaign to try to put Virgin Atlantic out of business,” he wrote.

“Many tears are shed today, this time over Alaska Airlines’ decision to buy and now retire Virgin America.”

Sir Richard Branson

“It has a very different business model and sadly, it could not find a way to maintain its own brand and that of Virgin America.”

He continued by saying that decisions are made to benefit shareholders and customers, but is yet to “see what will happen now – for travellers – with fewer airlines in the US than ever”.

What are your thoughts on Alaska Airlines’ decision?