Virgin America announced (10-Aug-2010) plans to launch daily Los Angeles-Dallas/Fort Worth service on 01-Dec-2010 and daily San Francisco-Dallas/Fort Worth service on 06-Dec-2010 - see Route Changes Table for more information. [more - Virgin] [more - Dallas]
Virgin America launches new service to Dallas-Fort Worth
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Alaska Air Group ups merger synergy targets as the margins for 2017 compress
Alaska Air Group has revised projected synergies from its merger with Virgin America upwards in both costs and revenue as it leverages the power of a larger network with a broader footprint in California, and uses the combined fleet to maximise profitability on transcontinental routes by placing higher gauge aircraft in those markets.
The existing Airbus narrowbodies operated by Virgin America will remain in the combined airline’s fleet for the foreseeable future. As a result, those aircraft are being reconfigured to offer standard interiors, including Alaska’s first class seat.
Similarly to Virgin America prior to the merger, Alaska has decided that a lie flat seat offering does not fit into its strategy in the contested US transcontinental market. In fact, choosing not to develop a lie flat product could put Alaska in a more favourable position when an (inevitable) economic down cycle occurs.
Despite the more favourable synergy estimates, Alaska will face some margin pressure due to Virgin America’s overall lower margin business. However, even though its margins are likely to drop in 2017, Alaska is stressing that its pretax margin performance will best the industry average.
Alaska and Delta: the end of a partnership, but the start of new competition on the US west coast
A decision by Alaska Air Group and Delta Air Lines to dissolve their codesharing partnership in late 2016 was not surprising, given that the demise of their relationship began about four years ago when Delta opted to build Seattle into a strategic trans Pacific hub. Since that time the financial benefit Alaska has enjoyed from the relationship has dwindled as Delta has built up its own network in Seattle to feed its long haul flights, rather than rely on passengers from Alaska.
After the two airlines formally announced their split: through the planned launch of seven new markets from the airport in 2017 Delta sent a clear message that it had no intention of backing down in Seattle, breaking an Alaska monopoly in several of those markets. However, Delta’s international expansion from Seattle appears to be on hold until the airport completes a new customs facility at the airport in 2019.
Even as their relationship officially ends, competitive dynamics between Alaska and Delta will intensify on the US west coast as Alaska embarks on its merger integration with Virgin America. Alaska will find itself competing with Delta and numerous other airlines in the strategic and fragmented Los Angeles market, and the merged entity retains a solid presence on numerous key routes from the airport.