By Nahrain John @karryontravel05 Apr 2016Virgin America is going once, going twice, GONE – sold to the Washington-based company and owners of Alaska Airlines, the Alaska Air Group. Less than a week after the carrier went up for sale, Alaska Air has purchased the airline in a deal worth US$2 billion or AU$2.61 billion. Both companies have approved the transaction, however, Virgin America shareholders still need to give their final vote. If approved, Alaska Air Group will pay US$57 in cash per Virgin share and the transaction is expected to close no later than 2 January 2017. Alaska Air is currently the sixth largest US carrier by traffic and flies to 90 destinations across the US, Canada and Mexico. The carrier will benefit from the purchase by increasing its presence on the West Coast, particularly destinations like San Francisco, Los Angeles as well as Dallas. The agreement will also expand Alaska Air’s route network to over 1,200 daily departures. Virgin America first launched in the US in 2007 by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson. It went public in 2014 and has experienced success in flights to Dallas, Hawaii and Denver. However, according to The Australian, has had trouble getting enough slots at busy New York airports. What are your thoughts on the purchase? Other stories you may like FAREWELL: Virgin America will not exist next week FIJI EXPANSION: Fiji Airways & Alaska Airlines’ new partnership Which North American airline serves the healthiest food in the air?