Virgin America Really Is American, Says DOT

The AP is reporting (even before Virgin America has put out a press release themselves) that the DOT has ruled that VA is, in fact, controlled by U.S. interests. Per U.S. law, foreign entities are limited to 25 percent of the voting rights of any U.S. carrier. (Heaven forbid that Singapore Airlines bought a good chunk of United and actually tried to bring it up to SQ's level!)

This whole ownership issue arose when Alaska Airlines requested the DOT review Virgin America's status as a US carrier early in 2009. Since then, both Alaska and Virgin America have gone back and forth in public regarding this issue.

While Alaska has claimed they are simply trying to ensure that all carriers in the US are on a level playing field (which is fair) one has to wonder how much happier Alaska (and the other majors, for that matter) would be without Virgin America around - not only for the inherent capacity reduction but to raise the flying bar. (Yes, there is a pun there!)

After all, brand new aircraft, great in-flight entertainment and happy flight attendants are something all U.S. passengers should have the opportunity to enjoy - no matter who controls the airline! Cheers to Virgin America.

These insights are excerpted with permission from Tom Botts' Hudson Crossing blog.