CNBC News Releases

First on CNBC: CNBC Excerpts: Virgin America CEO David Cush and Alaska Air CEO Brad Tilden Speak with CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Today


WHEN: Today, Monday, April 4th

WHERE: CNBC's "Squawk Box"

Following are excerpts from the unofficial transcript of a FIRST ON CNBC interview with Virgin America CEO David Cush and Alaska Air CEO Brad Tilden on CNBC's "Squawk Box" (M-F, 6AM-9AM ET) today, Monday, April 4th. Following is a link to the video on

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

David Cush, Virgin America CEO:


I will say price was a primary thing here. You know, that we understand what our fiduciary duty is. They were both qualified buyers so ultimately, it came down to price. We thought the Alaska plan was a very good plan. It was about establishing a powerhouse on the west coast that would have strong presences in Seattle, San Francisco, and L.A., so we like that. And very simply, they came in with a very strong offer.


I will work with Brad through the integration. The day after the close, I will exit gracefully, let's say.


This isn't about today. It's really about down the road when maybe the industry isn't as strong, or oil prices go up and what happens when you got a $2 billion airline like Virgin America trying to compete with $40 billion airlines. So I think it's a good time to do it when carriers are strong rather than when carriers are weak, which really dictated the last consolidation cycle.

Brad Tilden, Alaska Air CEO:


I think what we'll do going forward is the Alaska brand will definitely stay and we're going to work with the company and begin to understand the power of the Virgin America brand in the next little bit. And we're going to look at ways that we might use it well into the future. And we don't – we can't say more than that now, but I do know from looking at Virgin's numbers that that brand brings a lot of revenue, a lot of profit to the company. So we'll be looking at what we might do with it down the road.


The industry has gone through a fundamental restructuring. In the old days, airlines wanted to fly one of every airplane. They wanted to fly to every city in the country. People are more focused on shareholders today. They're more focused on returns. I think the industry structure is a lot healthier than it was in the past.


I think this transaction makes sense at any oil price. We're an airline and it's a good airline for us to be with. And what we have to do is deal with the oil prices environment that we're in.

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