SAN FRANCISCO - Virgin America celebrates the launch of its new service to Newark, New Jersey – the 20th destination in the carrier's growing network. At a time when most U.S. carriers have been consolidating, Virgin America is bringing its blend of upscale service and competitive fares to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) with three daily conveniently timed nonstop flights from both Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Virgin America's Newark service will support local jobs, stimulate travel and spur the increased competition that drives lower fares and better service. Prior to entering the EWR market – one of the nation's top business travel markets – the San Francisco-EWR route was served only by a single airline and the Los Angeles-Newark route was served by no low-fare carriers. Since Virgin America's launch of EWR sales, fares on the routes have dropped by as much as 40 percent.
Known for its new fleet and business-friendly amenities, Virgin America's service offers Garden State travelers a fresh flight option with beautifully designed mood-lit cabins with three classes of service, WiFi, power outlets and touch-screen personal entertainment platforms at every seat – on every flight. New Jersey leaders and Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson helped send guests on one of the airline's first EWR-LAX flights off in high style with a red carpet reception from the EWR departure gate. Branson also joined local flyers, Mashable CEO & Founder Pete Cashmore and area partners for a pre-flight Google+ "Fly Like a Boss" hangout to discuss how technology is changing business and travel.
"Our new nonstop service from Newark to the West Coast is bringing some healthy competition to travelers, with lower fares and service that allows them to stay connected, comfortable and productive coast-to-coast," said Virgin America President and CEO David Cush. "Before we entered the market, these routes previously had some of the highest fares in the nation. Since we entered the market, fares have dropped by nearly 40 percent, last-minute walk-up fares have dropped by about 30 percent, and travelers now have a fresh option with WiFi, new aircraft, live TV and award-winning service on every flight."
The new EWR routes significantly expand Virgin America's presence in the New York/New Jersey area. The airline has already built a following of bi-coastal flyers with its popular nonstop flights from both LAX and SFO to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). With the addition of Newark, Virgin America now serves nine of the top 10 business markets from SFO and eight of the top 10 business markets from LAX. Virgin America is the only airline to offer in-flight WiFi on every flight, and will be the only airline serving the Newark-West Coast routes to offer WiFi, power outlets and live satellite TV at every seat – on every flight. The carrier has taken top honors as "Best U.S. Airline" in both Conde Nast Traveler's annual Readers' Choice Awards and Travel + Leisure's annual World's Best Awards every year since its 2007 launch.
"We are very pleased to welcome Virgin America to Newark Liberty," said New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. "Expanded air travel between the Golden State and the Garden State strengthens existing business ties and benefits both the New Jersey and California state economies, while also providing additional travel options for customers throughout the metropolitan region."
Late last month, the airline named the 53rd member of its fleet in honor of the Garden State after inviting social audiences to show their "New Jersey" pride by submitting a name. The winning name, "Jersey Girl," will grace the nose of the first aircraft in Virgin America's fleet to be outfitted with Airbus's new "Sharklet" technology, which promises to be one of the most fuel-efficient aircraft in the nation once she takes to the skies later this month.
"Virgin America's arrival at Newark Liberty is certain to enhance the experience of the 34 million passengers who use the airport annually," said Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Chairman David Samson. "The Port Authority remains committed to partnering with quality carriers like Virgin America which, in addition to benefiting travelers, will generate jobs, wages and economic activity in our region."
In February, Virgin America initiated a poll of its Elevate frequent flyers to solicit feedback on what aspects of business travel they would like to change or improve upon. With more than 2.6 Million Elevate members and headquarters in Silicon Valley, the airline has a strong base of frequent business travelers and entrepreneurs. The poll results included the following: