The Department of Transportation has dropped its objections to Richard Branson’s latest venture, Virgin America. The domestic version of Virgin Atlantic was blocked in December over concerns the airline was a tad too British. Federal law requires U.S. ownership and control of domestic airlines. Branson won approval by yielding the CEO slot to an American, former Delta executive Fred Reid, and diluting Virgin Atlantic’s presence on the board.
Virgin America, based in Burlingame, Calif., near San Francisco’s airport, said yesterday that it was pleased by the ruling and hoped to start flights between San Francisco and Kennedy International Airport in New York by midsummer. Within nine months of beginning flights, it said it planned to serve Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas and Washington.
Finally, competition between New York and San Francisco. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER