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Virgin America to Add Chicago in 2011?

It appears Virgin America might be adding Chicago O’Hare to its list of destinations as soon as next year: The Chicago Tribune is reporting that O’Hare will indeed join Virgin America’s route network in 2011.

But hold your horses—Virgin’s Director of Corporate Communications, Abby Lunardini, told me there’s no deal.


“Chicago is definitely still in our sights,” Lunardini said, “and we’re hoping to bring our unique, low fare service there in the first half of 2011. That said, we’re still working with the airport and the City on a permanent, economically viable option.”

It’s no secret that Virgin wants a piece of the Chicago market. In fact, many were surprised when the low-cost carrier added Toronto and Orlando in March instead of the Windy City. At the time, though, the airline promised more destinations to come, and Chicago remains an inevitable addition to the airline’s largely coastal route map.

Further fueling the speculation that Chicago will soon be part of the airline’s network is the massive aircraft order Virgin America just announced. The airline ordered 40 Airbus A320 aircraft, with an option for 20 more. The initial 40 aircraft are set to be delivered between 2013 and 2016, with the optional planes coming in 2017-2018.

So Chicago: Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday. It’s really just a matter of time.

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