Much has been written the last few days about Alaska Air Group potentially maintaining two distinct carriers and brand identities…but what about the separate aircraft types? Alaska flies B737s while Virgin flies A320/19s. When the leases are up on the Virgin Airbus fleet, will Alaska Air Group choose to standardize their fleet? No one knows but the Puget Sound Business Journal quotes CEO Brad Tilden as saying the following:
“If you have the single fleet, it’s so much easier across employees, particularly with pilot groups,” Tilden said earlier this year in a conference call after the purchase announcement. “But the Airbus is a proven airplane,” he added. “So we’ll see.”
Hmm, it would be extremely difficult to standardize the fleet and maintain Virgin’s identity without some major on-board improvements.