What Virgin America's CEO David Cush has to say about the future...
· On their six new aircraft arriving, with three more coming in 2011:
"They'll be the tried-and-true Virgin America formula." This means no huge upgrades to the planes like more First Class or snazzier mood lightning, since what they've got is already working well for them. Cush is just excited for a new aircraft delivery, and more planes means the ability to keep promises and add more destinations.
· On why they're flying to Orlando:
We were surprised that Virgin America hit up MCO so quickly after taking on FLL earlier this year, but Cush says that the success of Fort Lauderdale "was significant in choosing Orlando." They've found that even during the off-season, the traffic from the west coast to FLL remains impressive and they're focusing on transcontinental routes anyway. The amount of conventions held in Orlando is also a big seller, and it's what shovels so many people onto their Vegas route too.
· On the possibility of new routes from NYC or Seattle:
While we understand that Virgin America is strengthening their positions at SFO and LAX, we still have our hopes for more routes from New York-JFK or Seattle. Virgin America understands, but Cush clearly told us that new routes, in the coming 1-2 years, will only be from LAX or SFO.
· On the Chicago question:
Chicago-O'Hare is the bane of Virgin America's existence. They and their fliers want them into the airport so badly, but the stinginess of legacy carriers and the seasonal ups-and-downs of the Windy City cause constant headaches. Cush says that they chose Toronto over Chicago right now because Chicago gave them a temporary solution they "weren't comfortable in accepting," but that we "can expect an announcement regarding Chicago hopefully in the second quarter of 2011." Get your act together, ORD!
· On Texas:
Since their new route announcement today coincides with the SXSW festival in Austin, we had it in the back of our minds one new spot could be Texas, as Cush has hinted to us before. Alas, no Austin for now, but Cush reassures us that Texas will have it's time and it'll be either Austin or Dallas, or both.
· On expanding to more international destinations once they're in Toronto:
Once Virgin America has gone over the border to Canada, we'd like to think that it'd be a cakewalk for them to finally take Vancouver too. David disagrees, and counters with this huge statement: "We are definitely still interested in Mexico, and expect us there sooner rather than later." Cabo San Lucas was batted around when the carrier was still in its infancy, but will we see a Cabo announcement later this year? Maybe!
So what do you think? Should venture south of the border or keep plugging away in Canada? Where else should Virgin America fly?
· Virgin America Will Begin Flying to Toronto and Orlando This Summer [Jaunted]
· Place Your Bets for Virgin America's Next Destination [Jaunted]
· Virgin America news [Jaunted]