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PR- 143-04
June 7, 2004


New Corporate Headquarters Will Bring 700 Jobs To New York City

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Governor George E. Pataki today announced that the new Virgin-branded U.S. airline will make New York City its corporate headquarters. The new U.S.-based domestic low-cost airline expects to create 600 jobs in five years and 700 jobs over fifteen years. The economic impact of these jobs is estimated at $69 million over the term of the 15-year commitment. After intensive negotiations with the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Virgin decided it was essential to establish its corporate headquarters, including its finance, marketing and human resources groups, in New York City, the country’s largest travel market. This announcement is the result of EDC’s efforts to attract jobs and capital investment to New York City.

“Our ongoing and sustained efforts to promote economic development by making New York City more livable and business-friendly continues to pay enormous dividends,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Virgin will bring more than 700 jobs and millions of dollars in investment, benefiting the entire region and reinforcing people’s confidence in New York City. This is a wonderful commitment by Virgin and I am pleased the company will benefit from the City’s many advantages, such as our high-quality workforce, the scale of our market, and the access to the leading advertising, marketing and legal firms based in New York. The airline industry is an important engine of our economic growth, and we must do all we can to support its expansion as we continue to create opportunities for all New Yorkers.”

“Virgin has rightfully recognized that New York City is a prime corporate headquarters location,” said Governor Pataki.  “I applaud Virgin’s choice to bring their world-class brand to New York over several other major US cities, as well as their commitment to create 600 new jobs within five years. It is through aggressive, pro-business policies that this State continues to win projects and jobs for New Yorkers.  Important investments such as this bring New York State closer to our goal of creating one million new jobs by the end of the decade.”

“We’re thrilled to make New York City the home of our corporate headquarters,” said Fred Reid, chief executive officer of the new Virgin-branded U.S. airline. “We received a heart-warming welcome and innovative support services from the City and State that will help the airline design a new low-cost operation that will create up to 700 jobs in New York City over the next fifteen years. Culturally, New York City reflects the Virgin brand’s fun, dynamic style, making it an ideal place for us to recruit creative, skilled employees who can deliver on our vision of outstanding customer service.”

For almost a year, New York City competed with top cities including Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Dulles, Virginia. Virgin has focused on launching the new airline since mid-2003, and its strategy is to offer choice, entertainment, value, simplicity and superior customer service. The company will unite Virgin’s world-renowned customer-focus and distinctive style to create a low-fare airline that offers more options, comfort, entertainment and value. The U.S. airline will be American-owned and operated, with a majority of American investors.

“By treating businesses as valued clients, we can help companies make important decisions about where to locate their operations,” said Andrew M. Alper, President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. “We’re elated with Virgin’s decision to bring jobs and investment to New York City.”

In exchange for committing its headquarters to New York City and creating and maintaining the 700 projected jobs, Virgin is eligible to earn up to $5.5 million (NPV) of sales tax benefits for equipping, renovating and making ongoing capital expenditures for its headquarters location. The company is also eligible for $3.5 million of marketing and training advisory services, plus up to $1.2 million of training grants and $445,000 in energy savings.New York State provided a $600,000 grant and a $500,000 marketing package. If Virgin decides to establish its headquarters in Lower Manhattan, $1.9 million in sales tax benefits and the $600,000 state grant will be replaced by a $2.5 million Job Creation and Retention Program grant.


Edward Skyler/Jennifer Falk   (212) 788-2958


Lynn Rasic (Governor)   (212) 681-4640

Michael Sherman/Janel Patterson   (EDC)
(212) 312-3523

Stacy Geagan (Virgin USA)   (212) 994-3076

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