Orlando Gains, John Wayne Loses Virginity
First it was Kennedy, then it was Fort Lauderdale (FLL). Now San Francisco-based Virgin America is further invading jetBlue Airways territory by announcing non-stop flights to Orlando (MCO) from both Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO) slated to begin on August 19th with introductory fares in the $149 – $199 range. A quick check of the jetBlue route map shows that the carrier does not currently operate direct flights to MCO from either LAX, SFO or any other Southern and Central California airports. In fact, Virgin America will be the first low-cost carrier to connect Disney World with Disneyland.
Additionally, the 2 1/2 year old airline announced that it will be ending service to John Wayne Airport in Orange County from San Fran effective May 26th, and plans to add its first scheduled international service to Toronto possibly as soon as June, pending approval from the Department of Transportation.
Virgin America, which currently operates 28 Airbus A320 family aircraft, also said it would resume its growth goal of 12 planes per year and expects to take delivery of six additional airframes this year and three more in early 2011. The carrier pointed out that a Department of Transportation inquiry into the airline’s compliance with foreign ownership rules had stymied their expansion efforts over the past year. Government officials are now satisfied that these rules are being met.