Virgin Rebirth's Botched Abortion


Sir Richard Branson wants to bring Virgin Air stateside. U.S. competitors counter: You're British.

Just how American is the proposed startup airline Virgin America? Not American enough, critics say.

The proposed low-cost carrier, which is seeking approval from the Department of Transportation to begin flying, is facing strong opposition from several major domestic airlines that accuse it of trying to skirt U.S. ownership laws.

The traditional way to skirt stupid ownership laws, of course, is to marry a local–and here in the U.S. we have a great system for hooking up moneyed men and willing strangers. Alas, the already-hitched SRB has partnered with American investors, who will control 75 percent of voting stock. U.S. airlines complain that Virgin America still reeks of our colonial overlords, and Continental has lodged a hilarious complaint with the Department of Transportation, fuming, "Virgin America is a foreign-funded, -owned and -controlled would-be airline masquerading as a U.S. airline applicant." In other words, Virgin Air fails the one-drop test, and Arthur Fortune should go back to getting high and handing out dollar bills. Unlikely, but there's always the chance someone will make the (plausible) argument that Branson's mustache is a form of global terrorism and further delay the deal.