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Wed, Apr 01, 2009

Report: 'Virgin' No More? LCC Considers Name Change

"Maiden America" Would Promote US Roots

ANN APRIL 1st "SPECIAL" EDITION: Aiming to silence critics who accuse upstart low-cost carrier Virgin America of having too many ties to foreign interests, airline executives are said to be considering a significant rebranding effort.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, an airline insider told the Missouri Valley (IA) Times-Cornfield the airline -- backed by British tycoon Sir Richard Branson -- hopes to accomplish two goals with the soon-to-be-announced change.

"By recasting ourselves as 'Maiden America,' we obviously intend to drive home the point that, yes, indeed, we are an American carrier," said the source. "The DOT says so, at least for now, and frankly that should be enough. I mean, really, doesn't [rival airline] Alaska Airlines have enough to worry about right now with that volcano?"

In addition to the hometown-friendly connotations, the name "Maiden America" should also convey the image "of a more experienced carrier," the source added. "An airline that's been around the gate a time or two, one that knows it's doing and that's familiar with most any IFR clearance."

The source admitted issues still remain before "Maiden America" planes will grace tarmacs at SFO, LAX and BOS.

"We're running into licensing issues with an online forum dedicated to appreciation of a certain hard-metal rock band... but we think Branson's money will speak louder than any litigation."

FMI: www.maidenamerica.com

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