Virgin America has announced that they’ll announce service to a new city tomorrow. As a bonus, they’ve even given us a little teaser and narrowed it down to six cities:
Crazy, right? Well, from a layman’s perspective, here’s what I think the likelihood of all these routes is.
- Bozeman Ruling it out pretty much right away. There are only a handful of airlines serving Bozeman, and many services are seasonal. Just don’t think the market is strong enough to support thatroute.
- Phoenix Possible, but not likely. The timing of this announcement puts the route start in late spring/early summer, a time which is usually deathly hot in Phoenix. Don’t think that that’s an ideal time to start the route. But who knows, anything is possible!
- Newark CEO David Cush has been quoted several times as saying he wants to get into the Newark market, but expressed that it may be difficult due to various slot restrictions. No doubt that Virgin America wants this market badly, though, and it is one of the strong competitors for this route announcement.
- Atlanta Cush has also said that Virgin wants in at Atlanta. Waaaay back in 2010, Cush said that the airline planned to start service to Chicago, Atlanta, and Houston, if it could secure slots and gates. So the plot thickens. In Atlanta, Virgin would be competing on ATL-LAX with hometown heavyweight Delta, as well as Atlanta newcomer Southwest. While Virgin may not be able to steal traffic away from DL’s fiercely loyal base, consumers may choose it over Southwest due to the inflight entertainment, AC power, and diverse meal choices.
- Houston This goes back to the Atlanta bullet. Clearly, VX has expressed some interest in Houston before. This is also a highly plausible new destination for Virgin America.
- Philadelphia Surprise, surprise. Virgin also likes Philadelphia for a new city. Brotherly love it may be, but Virgin’s product is far superior to local favorite US Airways. But can they justify enough premium traffic for a viable route?
There’s only one way to find out. Tomorrow, Virgin America will announce their new city and you’ll see for yourself. Here’s our final say in tomorrow’s announcement.