Land Rover Inks Deal With Virgin America

Land Rover, part of Ford's Premier Automotive Group, has signed on with Virgin America, Virgin's new foray into the U.S. domestic air travel market.

Land Rover will sponsor Virgin America's in-flight entertainment system, Red, and will pitch its vehicles and dealer network to Virgin America passengers on the system, which shows pay-per-view movies, satellite TV, games, song playlists and other entertainment.

Land Rover isn't the first automaker to initiate an on-board marketing program. BMW has run such programs for its X3 compact SUV with JetBlue that included putting vehicles at terminals. Mercedes-Benz has advertised on U.S. Airways on tray tables.

The startup airline, based in San Francisco, started selling tickets via a toll-free number and at this week--and expects to exceed one million seats sold between Aug. 8, when service begins, and Feb. 12.

The company says it will launch with two daily flights between San Francisco International Airport and New York's JFK, and five daily flights between San Francisco and LAX.



The company--which says it expects to serve up to 10 cities within a year of operation and up to 30 cities within five years of service--has also signed online travel site Orbitz Worldwide, to be exclusive online travel agency in the United States for its launch.

Virgin America fares will be offered via Orbitz Worldwide's and

Although parent Ford has not yet decided when or how--or even if--it will spin off Land Rover, it has reportedly gotten bids for Land Rover and its other British brand, Jaguar.

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