Alaska Airlines Might Not Drop Virgin America Name After Merger

Image courtesy of (Agus Sutanto)/(GeorgeM757)

Two months after Alaska Airlines put $4 billion on the table and bought up Virgin America, the soon-to-be fifth largest airline operating in the U.S. is spilling the beans — kind of — about its future, and that might include keeping the recently purchased carrier’s name. 

Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden says the carrier may carry on the Virgin America brand, continuing to run the carrier as a separate but related airline, the Associated Press reports.

“We are looking at that because we do believe in the power of the Virgin America brand and we don’t want to lose all that loyalty and revenue that exists today,” Tilden said.

While Tilden said that no plans have been finalized, it’s not completely uncommon for companies to run two brands under the same organization after mergers.

Still, most recent airline mergers have resulted in the discontinuation of one brand: American Airlines dropped the U.S. Airways name after their merger, despite the fact that U.S. Airways was the purchaser; Southwest Airlines ditched the AirTran name after its combination.

The closest thing to a branding compromise in recent years was the merger of United and Continental. The combined parent company is United Continental, and though only the United name is on the airline’s jets, the globe from the old Continental logo is still used.

Tilden tells the AP that he is “taking a good look at running two brands for some period of time, perhaps forever.”

However, for that to even be a possibility, the deal first needs to gain approval by regulators, which could be a tough task as airline consolidation has come under fire in the past year.

Analysts tell the AP that while running two brands may help Alaska retain Virgin America customers, that task can be complex and expensive.

Alaska Airlines CEO says he might keep Virgin America brand [The Associated Press]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.