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Alaska Tells the DOT It's Not Filing Form 41 Until Virgin America Does

This move cracks me up. Virgin America filed a petition with the DOT on March 14 requesting that it be allowed to keep its traffic and financial data (Form 41) from being released publicly. Since US carriers are required to file public data, you can imagine that the other airlines weren't happy about this and made it quite clear. Now, three and a half months later, the DOT hasn't responded so Alaska is taking matters into its own hands.

The filing is clearly a message to the DOT to stop screwing around and issue a ruling. Why do they care? Well until the ruling is issued (and most people I've spoken with expect the request for privacy to be denied), Virgin America doesn't have to release its data. So, it's getting a free pass right now. Even if the petition is denied later, the airline will have successfully suppressed its traffic and financial data for several months, achieving the initial goal.

So now Alaska says enough is enough. Alaska is keeping its data private until Virgin America's request is denied. In their own words:

Alaska requests that this data be withheld from public disclosure indefinitely or until the Department rules on Virgin America Inc.'s ("Virgin") pending motion for confidential treatment, whichever period is shorter."

What a great move. This puts pressure on the DOT to finally issue a ruling and get Virgin's data out there in the public. I know I can't wait to see it.

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