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Alaska Airlines petitions DOT on Virgin status

Old School 737

NG's now and it is A OK!!
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Alaska Airlines petitions DOT
on Virgin America citizen status

Goal is to ensure startup carrier
complies with foreign owner rules

February 10, 2009

Alaska Airlines today petitioned the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct a public inquiry into the citizenship status of Virgin America.

Citing recent media reports that call into question Virgin’s compliance with U.S. foreign ownership and control restrictions on domestic carriers, Alaska Airlines asked the DOT to investigate Virgin’s current as well as prospective capital and governance structures and their effect on Virgin’s U.S. citizenship status.

Alaska's petition to the U.S. Department of Transportation (PDF - 33 pages)
U.S. law requires air carriers to be U.S. “citizens.” To qualify, the outstanding voting interests of the air carrier must be at least 75-percent owned by U.S. citizens and the carrier must also be effectively controlled by U.S. citizens.

Alaska’s petition cites news reports suggesting that Virgin America, founded by the British Virgin Group, may no longer be a U.S. citizen or is in clear danger of losing its citizenship. These include reports of investors owning 75 percent of Virgin America’s voting stock with imminent rights to sell their shares back to the foreign-owned Virgin Group and of new funding from investors, apparently including Virgin Group, under terms and conditions not revealed to the public.

“Only through a careful and ongoing review of Virgin America’s recent actions conducted on the public record can the DOT and public be assured that Virgin will remain a U.S. citizen,” said Keith Loveless, general counsel for Alaska Airlines.

Virgin America’s compliance with U.S. citizenship requirements was a point of controversy and debate during its certification proceeding. The DOT initially determined that Virgin America did not comply and required the company to restructure before granting initial certification.

“Since the issuance of their certificate, Virgin America’s structure and operations have clearly changed; however, there is a lack of public information about those changes or how they may impact its citizenship status,” Loveless said. “Alaska makes this request to ensure all U.S. carriers are held to the same standard of compliance with U.S. citizenship laws. Recent questions about Virgin’s ownership status establish a compelling need for a transparent review of its continuing compliance with these laws.”
 

WSurf

The Smack Down!
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Fuk'in 'A'

I hope all the US Airlines jump on this along with Alaska Airlines.
 

Chief Pilot

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Absolutely.

If VA wants to operate it needs to do so within the confines of the laws that all other domestic carriers operate in. Branson's baby should not be allowed an inch of latitude in the law.
 

Erlanger

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Does it really matter what their ownership status is at this moment? Even if Virgin is in violation, all that will happen is they will be given an ultimatum to comply and they will. Case closed!
 

ImbracableCrunk

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Does it really matter what their ownership status is at this moment? Even if Virgin is in violation, all that will happen is they will be given an ultimatum to comply and they will. Case closed!

What are the possible outcomes? Could the DOT ground them? What other agencies would be involved? SEC?
 

tzskipper

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Do you all really believe that the Virgin Group and Virgin America management team(s) would actually put the ownership structure in violation of the DOT requirements?

Instead of "tilting at windmills", I think that airline management teams have a whole host of other and bigger issues to worry about right now.

As an aside, virtually all of the pilots at VA were previously employed by various US carriers, where they were either furloughed from, or their carrier went out of business. Why wish ill will?

As a collective group, we should be supportive of a VA pilot's effort(s) in starting over, and also supportive in any efforts by the VA pilot group to make improvements in their terms and conditions of employment.

Skipper
 

ImbracableCrunk

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Do you all really believe that the Virgin Group and Virgin America management team(s) would actually put the ownership structure in violation of the DOT requirements?

Instead of "tilting at windmills", I think that airline management teams have a whole host of other and bigger issues to worry about right now.

As an aside, virtually all of the pilots at VA were previously employed by various US carriers, where they were either furloughed from, or their carrier went out of business. Why wish ill will?

As a collective group, we should be supportive of a VA pilot's effort(s) in starting over, and also supportive in any efforts by the VA pilot group to make improvements in their terms and conditions of employment.

Skipper

Personally, I would prefer that the pilots that were furloughed from a mainline carrier weren't furloughed.
 

GuppyPuppy

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I can still remember the interview Branson did with Stephen Colbert. He kept referring to Virgin America as "my airline".

Have also heard rumors that SRB is buying VA tickets to give the company desperately needed cash.

He needs a good swift kick in the nuts.

GP
 

jayme

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Have also heard rumors that SRB is buying VA tickets to give the company desperately needed cash.

He needs a good swift kick in the nuts.

GP

If that were true there would be a huge no-show rate, which is simply not happening. Loads aren't great (but they probably aren't at your airline right now either.) but we can see what the load will be early in the day, and the actual load tends to be quite close. You're blowing smoke.
 

ImbracableCrunk

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If that were true there would be a huge no-show rate, which is simply not happening.

Unless they're overbooking on top of the flights. What can you get away with legally?

In theory, how many seats could they sell? Say their plane holds 160, could Branson then just book the legal limit over that when the flight is ready to leave the gate?
 

clickclickboom

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Wait til the govt cathches on to those blocks of ticket purchases by an obscure travel agency that obviously will never get used. I am sure you Redwood guys will get your panties in a wad but it is happening and before you thump you chest and swing to another tree no i dont have official proof but I am sure others do.

2 Of the greatest days in my career

The shutdown of skybus and the other hasnt happended yet..
 

Furloughed80

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Does it really matter what their ownership status is at this moment? Even if Virgin is in violation, all that will happen is they will be given an ultimatum to comply and they will. Case closed!

I think they would need a US based entity invest a certain amount of money in the company. With the way things are, this may be hard to find.
 

westward

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Good idea.

You mean to tell me the powers at Alaska think this is a good idea?

You will approach the new administration that has yet to unpack and you think they'll drop everything for this?

That they'll drop new business to re-tread the inspection of the most scrutinized start-up ever?

When this country is losing thousands of jobs, they will actually work for more job losses by shuttering the doors?

The Obama administration has been accused of fostering trade protectionism, so they will fight that by throwing out a foreign investor and risk losing billions and billions in a trade war?

All over an airline that has, what, 22-24 aircraft?

What about Jet Blue?

And never mind Allegiant is eating your lunch as well.

The only thing Alaska's admitting is they cannot compete. It sounds like desperation or just plain panic.

[FONT=&quot]Sorry to hear things are that bad.[/FONT]
 

ImbracableCrunk

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You will approach the new administration that has yet to unpack and you think they'll drop everything for this?

That they'll drop new business to re-tread the inspection of the most scrutinized start-up ever?

When this country is losing thousands of jobs, they will actually work for more job losses by shuttering the doors?

The Obama administration has been accused of fostering trade protectionism, so they will fight that by throwing out a foreign investor and risk losing billions and billions in a trade war?

Gee, you don't think the President himself will put off picking a new puppy to fly over and help us? 'Cus that's what we thought would happen.

Scutinized? I don't know much about that to be honest, but if it was scrutinized by the same folks who scrutinized KBR, Halliburton, etc, then I'd say it might take another looking at.

And it's not a matter of losing jobs or gaining jobs, it's who is going to keep said jobs, in my opinion. Personally, I'd rather a an established pilot group stuck around rather than have slash and burn airlines start up.
 

tzskipper

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Gee, you don't think the President himself will put off picking a new puppy to fly over and help us? 'Cus that's what we thought would happen.

Scutinized? I don't know much about that to be honest, but if it was scrutinized by the same folks who scrutinized KBR, Halliburton, etc, then I'd say it might take another looking at.

And it's not a matter of losing jobs or gaining jobs, it's who is going to keep said jobs, in my opinion. Personally, I'd rather a an established pilot group stuck around rather than have slash and burn airlines start up.

Again, most all of VA's pilots were "established" at other U.S. carriers, and with no other real options for re-employment....

Out of curiosity, is there an issue with ALK "code sharing" with V Australia out of LAX, since those are foreign pilots operating the long haul portion of the flying? I mean jeez, VA's pilots have paid dues, walked lines and supported their previous pilot groups, and yet you seem to want to toss them under the bus. Give them some time to get re-established and see where it goes.

Skipper
 

Chief Pilot

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tzskipper,

The pilots at VA have nothing to do with whether or not the company is following the laws set forth for a U.S. Domestic airline. If VA cannot classify itself legally as a U.S. owned and controlled airline, then it opens a huge can of worms for you, me and the rest of the "established" airline pilots throughout this country and should not be allowed to operate. If it can pass scrutiny then they should be allowed to continue.

I don't think anyone really believes that SRB doesn't exert a great deal of influence, especially financially, to his pet project here in the States. Hell even VA folks have bragged about how his deep pockets will keep them afloat.

Alaska Airlines, and every other domestic carrier out there, has every right to ensure that a direct competitor is not sidestepping the laws and competing unfairly.
 

SaabStory

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....
You mean to tell me the powers at Alaska think this is a good idea?

You will approach the new administration that has yet to unpack and you think they'll drop everything for this?

That they'll drop new business to re-tread the inspection of the most scrutinized start-up ever?

When this country is losing thousands of jobs, they will actually work for more job losses by shuttering the doors?

The Obama administration has been accused of fostering trade protectionism, so they will fight that by throwing out a foreign investor and risk losing billions and billions in a trade war?

All over an airline that has, what, 22-24 aircraft?

What about Jet Blue?

And never mind Allegiant is eating your lunch as well.

The only thing Alaska's admitting is they cannot compete. It sounds like desperation or just plain panic.

[FONT=&quot]Sorry to hear things are that bad.[/FONT]

We have a winner.....
 
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