|California Lands Virgin America
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently celebrated Virgin America’s selection of San Francisco, CA as its new headquarters (pending regulatory approval of the airline by the federal government) with the unveiling of the new U.S. airline’s first plane at the San Francisco International Airport. The Bay Area stands to gain 1,700 jobs as a result of this project.
Among those who will benefit from the expected 1,700 jobs are airline workers laid off after September 11, 2001. The governor’s administration worked with the state Employment Training Panel to secure a $10 million incentive for Virgin America to retrain and rehire local unemployed airline professionals.
In order to begin commercial service, Virgin America must receive permission from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Generally, the certification process takes at least a year. In December 2005 the airline sought authorization to operate, and the governor has repeatedly urged top DOT officials to approve the airline’s request. Virgin America is still awaiting final approval from the DOT before it can begin commercial service.
“When I ran for governor in the recall, I vowed to turn the economy around and help turn California back into a job creating machine,” says Gov. Schwarzenegger. “Since I took office, California has added more than 635,000 jobs. But I am always looking for more opportunities for California. I remember how excited I was when I heard that the Virgin brand was going to be expanding in America. What’s making me happiest of all is that Virgin America is choosing San Francisco as its hub.”