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Is Virgin America headed for the altar?


With rumors floating for the past week or so that Virgin America might be up for sale, Bloomberg News has now reported that there are two offers being discussed, by JetBlue and Alaska Airlines. Earlier talk had marked Delta as a likely bidder.

The ten-year-old airline, which has only recently become profitable, has a reputation with passengers as a slightly quirky, friendly airline—in the mold of its cousin, Virgin Atlantic. Richard Branson is the main mover in both.

A JetBlue merger would put together two airlines with similar feel and might have the most overlap of the possible partners. It would also bring a strong presence at Dallas's Love Field, a growing alternative to DFW. An Alaska merger would add a significant number of new routes, and give Alaska more of an East Coast presence than it's had.

The earlier speculation centered on Delta in part because it's already a part-owner of Virgin Atlantic and has a joint operating agreement on Atlantic routes, and because Virgin America might be a strong feeder to Delta's Pacific routes, which are a major focus for Delta.

The Bloomberg report indicated that there might be an announcement within the next week, although as the recent Starwood merger discussions have shown, it ain't final until it's final. 


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