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Virgin America IPO could occur later this yea: CEO

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson speaks at the Institute of Directors annual convention in London September 18, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Pl
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson speaks at the Institute of Directors annual convention in London September 18, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Pl

(Reuters) - Virgin America, the U.S. carrier in which Richard Branson's Virgin Group has a minority stake, could go public in the third or fourth quarter of this year, its president and chief executive said on Wednesday.

"We think the company will be ready from an administrative and financial standpoint later this year," David Cush said in a telephone interview. "Our thought right now is that late third quarter or sometime in the fourth quarter is probably the earliest we would be looking at going," he said, noting that market factors would affect the timing.

Virgin America improved its financial performance and is looking to expand its footprint in markets with high demand. The carrier recently won some takeoff and landing rights at New York's LaGuardia Airport and at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport that American Airlines gave up in return for U.S. approval of its merger with US Airways Group.

(Reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta; Editing by Diane Craft)

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