27 MARCH 2017
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Despite hopes expressed by both sides three months ago when the companies merged, the Virgin America name is disappearing from US skies, although not until 2019, after the Alaska Air Group said last week it is dropping the brand.
Alaska Air said the combined airline will adopt many brand elements of Virgin America including enhanced in-flight entertainment, mood lighting and music to create a warm and welcoming West Coast-inspired vibe.
Alaska Air vice-president marketing Sangita Woerner acknowledged the Virgin America name was “beloved to many” but “we concluded to be successful on the West Coast we had to do so under one name – for consistency and efficiency, and to allow us to continue to deliver low fares".
Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson said in his blog: “Many tears are shed today”, adding that Alaska Air “has a very different business model and, sadly, it could not find a way to maintain its own brand and that of Virgin America”.
He told staff: “It was a long and hard journey but in the end you are the best consumer airline in America. You proved it is possible to create a business with a terrific culture and a brand people love.”
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