For everyone who hasn't read "Aviation for Dummies," ETOPS stands for "extended operations," and it's an approval needed when you're an airline trying to fly two-engined planes (such as A320s) pretty long distances, like the west coast to Hawaii, for example. At 5 hours and all over water, the flight is no San Fran-Portland hop, nosiree. So, does this mean Branson will soon be pulling stunts on a Hawaiian tarmac?
We reached out to Virgin America's VP of Corporate Communications, Abby Lunardini, for the latest word. Though she concedes that yes, Virgin America is in the "early stages" for ETOPS certification, she remains evasive on the topic of Hawaii: "I will say that it has always been on our prospective destinations list -- but we have not announced immediate plans."
That's cool, because in the last few hours Virgin America have upped their workload as it is, announcing that they've received approval to launch cross-country low-cost flights from Washington DC's Reagan National Airport. No start date for the SF-bound flights has been decided on, but their flights will join other new routes to DCA on JetBlue (to SJU), Southwest (to AUS) and Alaska Airlines (to PDX).
Good news, all around!
[Images: Google Maps, Virgin America and virginamerica on Instagram]