Where will Virgin America expand next?

What new routes should Virgin America add? Photo: Virgin America.

What new routes should Virgin America add? Photo: Virgin America.

UPDATE: We have one answer. On Nov. 17, Virgin America said it would begin flying between San Francisco and Denver beginning in March 2016.

ORIGINAL POST: Over a one-year period that began late this past summer, Virgin America will take delivery of 10 new Airbus A320s, adding to a fleet that had been stuck at 53 aircraft for a couple of years, as the airline stopped its growth to regain its financial footing. But where will those aircraft fly?

We already know the first two big new markets. San Francisco-Honolulu starts on Nov. 2, while San Francisco-Maul begins on Dec. 3. 

Virgin America may use some of the new aircraft to fly more on existing routes. But I expect more route announcements should be coming soon.

And while Virgin America has been expanding at Dallas Love Field, I bet most, if not all, of the new routes will originate in Los Angeles or San Francisco. In theory, it is a good idea for Virgin America to spread beyond its positions of strength in California. But the airline has admitted it isn't making a lot of money in Dallas. 

Here's the current route map. As you can see, more than 90% of the airline's capacity touches San Francisco or Los Angeles. 

Where will Virgin America go?

The slide below, which the airline shared recently with investors, gives us a good idea. It shows the largest markets from San Francisco and Los Angeles that Virgin America does not fly. 

Virgin America may continue to skip Denver, as there's a lot of competition from L.A. and San Francisco, especially from United and Southwest. But many of the other cities seem plausible. 

What do you think? What new routes should Virgin America start? Leave your thoughts in the comments section, or contact me directly. 

As a point of reference, these are some of the routes Virgin America has added in recent years.


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