The Department of
Transportation has removed the limit on the number of planes Virgin America can
conclude that Virgin America has the proper regard for the laws and regulations
governing its operations to ensure that its aircraft and personnel conform to
applicable safety standards and that acceptable consumer relations practices
will be followed,” the department wrote in a March 2 order.
America, which launched in 2007, had been under fleet-size restrictions that
the DOT places on new carriers. Virgin was initially authorized to operate 22
aircraft. The DOT increased that number to 63 in 2011.
America requested that the regulators remove its fleet-size restriction in a
Sept. 4 application last year.
granting that request the DOT noted that the carrier has had zero crashes and
that it is on solid financial footing, with assets that exceeded liabilities by
$154.5 million as of last June.
fleet size was 55 as of September, all of them single-aisle Airbus aircraft.
The carrier expected to take delivery eight additional Airbus jets by June.
America currently flies to 24 destinations in the U.S. and Mexico. Its principal base of operations is San Francisco International Airport.