Virgin America may not happen

Remember when L.A. officials tried to convince Sir Richard Bransonís Virgin Group to eadquarter its new U.S. airline here? The airline would be creating about 1,500 jobs nationwide (500 in the headquarters city) and try to replicate the success of JetBlue and other low-cost carriers. As it turned out, L.A. wasn't selected; it didn't even make the short list. Virgin wound up choosing Burlingame and planned an S.F.-N.Y route to start things out. But now, it's looking like the carrier might not even get off the ground. A Virgin America spokeswoman says the U.S. government is expected to reject the airline's application to start flying. No details on why, although Virgin America has been opposed by Continental. The supposed sticking point is the ownership structure. Federal law limits non-U.S. ownership of airlines to 25 percent and requires that citizens remain in control of all decisions. It's not clear whether those requirements are being met, though Virgin says they are. A decision is expected in the next few days.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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