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Virgin America takes on Continental

Is Continental afraid of a little competition? Start-up airline Virgin America thinks so. Fred Reid, the airline's CEO, accuses Continental of "wasting taxpayer money simply to avoid the competition they fear in the marketplace."

The heart of the issue is this: Virgin America says Continental has repeatedly delayed the DOT from processing its application to start flying in the U.S. by manipulating the regulatory process, and now Virgin is mad as hell and it's not gonna take it any more. "It's time for Continental and others to let the Department move forward with its proven and well-established process," adds Reid in a recent press release.

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Once it clears the regulatory hurdles, Virgin America plans to launch its U.S. service sometime in 2006 with 34 planes. Its self-described goal is to "build an innovative, creative travel brand based on safe and efficient operations, low costs, [and] outstanding guest service." The airline cites the relative success and popularity of JetBlue as an example of its own model.

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