Press Release Article


Date: Dec 11, 2012
Press Release Number: 211-2012

Change in Airport’s Lease with American Airlines Allows Increased Competition

Air travelers at Newark Liberty International Airport will gain additional flight choices when Virgin America begins service in 2013 as the result of a lease restructuring with American Airlines authorized by the Port Authority Board of Commissioners.

Virgin America, a low-cost carrier with limited service in the New York metropolitan area, will take over aircraft slot rights at Newark Liberty from American, whose parent company is currently reorganizing under bankruptcy protection. Virgin America will have sufficient slots to offer six daily flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco starting next year. The arrangement is in accordance with a Federal Aviation Administration mandate to increase competition at Newark Liberty.

Five years after Virgin America began service as an upscale, low-cost carrier with a flight from New York to San Francisco, the airline is coming to New Jersey to expand its operations in the metropolitan area. Headquartered in California, Virgin America has increased its operations to 19 destinations and created 2,600 jobs since 2007. Virgin America will help offer Newark Liberty’s passengers more travel choices to California, while providing the potential to boost overall passenger growth at the airport.

Under the agreement, American is relinquishing three of the six gates it holds at Newark Liberty’s Terminal A. American will reduce its costs at the airport by allowing Virgin America to take over one gate and the Port Authority to control the other two for use by various carriers as needed.

Creating common-use gates and adding a new carrier advances the agency’s goal of increased competition at Newark Liberty and supports potentially increased passenger growth at the airport.

“Increasing airline competition at our major airports is an important goal we share with the FAA,” said Port Authority Chairman David Samson. “The addition of a quality carrier like Virgin America to Newark Liberty helps us achieve that goal and provides increased low-cost flight options for passengers.”

“Opening our airports to new carriers is a fundamental part of the Port Authority’s aviation mission,’’ said Scott Rechler, the agency’s vice chairman. “This is a smart and viable arrangement that benefits American Airlines, Virgin America, and most importantly, the traveling public flying in and out of our region.”

“Access to the Port Authority’s slot-constrained commercial airports is highly sought but not easy to obtain,” said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye. “We are pleased to bring a new carrier and more competition to Newark Liberty, while maintaining our valued relationship with American Airlines.’’

“In beginning service at Newark Liberty International Airport, Virgin America joins a family of airlines committed to bringing more destinations to the people of New Jersey and New York,” said Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni.

CONTACT: Ron Marsico, 212-435-7777

Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where construction crews are building the iconic One World Trade Center, which is now the tallest skyscraper in New York. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the state of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency relies on revenues generated by facility users, tolls, fees and rents as well as loans, bond financing, and federal grants to fund its operations. For more information, please visit



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