VirginAmerica bemoans delays

Virgin America on Wednesday alleged that Continental Airlines is delaying its certification with the Department of Transportation by filing repeated requests for information.

Citing concerns over foreign control of American-based companies, Continental last Thursday asked the department to further investigate Virgin’s ownership. In response, Virgin America filed a motion on Wednesday with the department to strike the request.

The Burlingame-based airline — founded by Virgin Atlantic mogul Richard Branson and now owned mostly by American shareholders — hopes to start flying out of San Francisco International Airport this year.

But Virgin says Continental, along with other airlines, has held up the process by filing four detailed proposals and requests for information and further investigation in five months.

Continental spokesman David Messing said there are “very real” foreign control issues raised by the application, and questions why Continental’s would-be competitor is, in Continental’s view, rushing through the application process. Virgin America spokeswoman Stacy Geagan said the process, which has taken more than a year, typically takes between six and 12 months.

“They’re portraying it as an effort on our part to keep an airline from starting up, and that has nothing to do with it,” Messing said. “Many new airlines have started up without us raising an eyebrow, but those were done with full accordance of U.S. law in mind.”

Geagan estimates the airline would be up and running within three months of DOT approval.

Anne LeClair, president and CEO of the San Mateo County Convention and Visitors Bureau, has sent a letter to the department expressing support for Virgin America’s approval.

“We met with them ages ago and everyone is very anxious for them to start,” LeClair said.

tramroop@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

Just Posted

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes sit in a container after being crushed at Smith-Madrone Winery in St. Helena, Calif. on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. (Courtesy Smith-Madrone Winery)
San Francisco’s ‘Champagne problems’ — Wine industry suffers supply chain woes

‘Everywhere you turn, things that were easy are no longer easy’

A Giants fans hangs his head in disbelief after the Dodgers won the NLDS in a controversial finish to a tight Game 5. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Giants dream season ends at the hands of the Dodgers, 2-1

A masterful game comes down to the bottom of the ninth, and San Francisco came up short

<strong>Workers with Urban Alchemy and the Downtown Streets Team clean at Seventh and Market streets on Oct. 12. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins> </strong>
<ins></ins>
Why is it so hard to keep San Francisco’s streets clean?

Some blame bureaucracy, others say it’s the residents’ fault

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi — seen in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday — touted Congressional Democrats’ infrastructure bill in San Francisco on Thursday. (Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times)
Pelosi touts infrastructure bill as it nears finish line

Climate change, social safety net among major priorities of Democrats’ 10-year funding measure

<strong>A lion from Cambodia at the Asian Art Museum, which was acquired from a private collector and dates back to between 1150 and 1225, is one of two pieces identified as a potential stolen artifact in the leaked Pandora Papers.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins> </strong>
<ins></ins>
Asian Art Museum reckons with Cambodian antiquities of disputed provenance

Pandora Papers revelations accelerate culture shift at museums near and far

Most Read