Virgin America to buy Frontier’s Airbus planes


California-based airline Virgin America Inc. may be interested in buying Frontier Airlines’ Airbus fleet if Southwest Airlines succeeds in its bid for the Denver carrier, according to a news report Tuesday.

Virgin America CEO David Cush told Bloomberg News in an interview that his airline, which flies Airbus planes, may be interested in the 40 Airbus jets owned by Frontier Airlines Holdings Inc.

Southwest officials have said that if their $170 million bid for Frontier is successful, they would eventually dispose of Frontier’s Airbus fleet. Southwest flies Boeing jets.

Bloomberg noted that most of Frontier’s jets are five years old or younger, and that the jets’ electronics and engines would be compatible with Virgin America’s equipment.

“Those are recent-vintage aircraft, and under the right economics, we would be interested,” Cush told Bloomberg. “In taking used aircraft, you’d look at the commonality. They have similar avionics and engines. We’d be interested in looking at that.”

The Bloomberg report said Burlingame, Calif.-based Virgin America launched service Tuesday from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and is looking at possibly adding new routes to Atlanta, Dallas and Austin, Texas, among other cities.

Virgin America is a U.S.-only airline, separate from United Kingdom-based Virgin Atlantic Airways, although they use similar brand logos.

Southwest and Frontier serve customers in central New Mexico from the Albuquerque International Sunport.