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Virgin America: Cleared for Takeoff?

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Virgin America: Cleared for Takeoff?

Business

Virgin America: Cleared for Takeoff?

Virgin America: Cleared for Takeoff?

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After months of debate, the airline Virgin America has tentative approval to start flying as early as this summer. U.S. regulators questioned whether the startup planned by British billionaire Richard Branson was "American" enough. Branson has agreed to various concessions and will comply with foreign ownership rules.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

The business news starts with a new airline getting ready to take off.

(Soundbite of music)

MONTAGNE: Virgin America has tentative approval to start flying as early as this summer. The startup airline backed by British billionaire Richard Branson has been battling to take off in the U.S. for nearly a year. U.S. regulators have kept the planes grounded. They said the airline isn't American enough.

Virgin America has now agreed to make concessions to distance itself from its backers and comply with foreign ownership rules.

Final approval could mean new competition for existing U.S. airlines and more flights for consumers.

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