Alaska Air, Virgin America secure single operating certificate

Virgin America plane in flight

Virgin America plane in flight

A decade after first taking to the skies, Virgin America will cease to exist for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

"The receipt of a single operating certificate will not result in any immediate differences for guests when flying with Alaska or Virgin America", Alaska said in a statement Thursday.

Travelers can still expect to see Virgin America's quirky, colorfully lit planes until April 25, when the two airlines will roll out a single reservation system. By 2019, Virgin America's name and logo will be retired entirely.

Alaska, headquartered in Seattle, announced the purchase of Burlingame's Virgin America in April 2016 and finished the deal in December of that year.

But the single operating certificate does mean regulators have been convinced that the two airlines' operating policies and procedures are now in alignment.

One area that has already been completed is that of the Virgin America loyalty programme's integration with Alaska's Mileage Plan. "More than 10,500 frontline employees have been trained on the updated policies and procedures", Alaska said. They logged approximately 70,000 hours; reviewed 346 different operational topics across 136 manuals; analyzed more than 39,000 pages of material; and instituted roughly 1,500 changes to policies and procedures throughout 68 various manuals.

Ahead of its full retirement, Virgin America flight attendant and photographer Molly Choma has been capturing behind-the-scenes moments of flight attendants working in the galley preparing meals, performing safety drills during training, and taking a break during their flight service. An additional milestone will be reached in March when an Airbus operations control center will be co-located with one for Boeing aircraft at Alaska's Flight Operations Center in Seattle.