AURORA | Virgin America airlines made their first landing in Denver this week in a tech-heavy arrival that featured virtual reality displays and uber-fast WiFi.
And going forward, as the California-based airline runs three flights a day from DIA, Aurora will be in on the action.
The company is set to add about 100 customer-care jobs in Aurora. The jobs are the result of a partnership between the airline and 24-7Intouch, a customer service call center company with offices at Interstate 225 and East Iliff Avenue.
Yuriy Gorlov, director of business development at the Aurora Economic Development Council, said the new employees will work out of 24-7 Intouch’s offices in Aurora.
Gorlov said landing Virgin’s customer-care operation was an important development for the city.
Not only will it be close to 100 new jobs — some of the staff will be moved here from other locales, but most will be new local jobs, he said — but attracting a company like Virgin shows that Aurora can compete with other cities for international brands.
“It definitely goes to show that Aurora has the strategic niche these companies are looking to,” Gorlov said.
Gorlov said companies who want to be close to both Downtown Denver and DIA are seeing that Aurora is an ideal spot for them, especially when light rail lines connecting downtown and the airport — and cutting right through Aurora — open later this year.
“They can say, ‘Hey, we are a few light rail stops away,’” he said.
Gorlov said AEDC is also hopeful about the prospect for other airport-related developments, especially closer to DIA in the northeast corner of Aurora.
Virgin America also announced the company will add about 40 new employees from the Denver area in support positions for their flights from Denver to San Francisco.
“In addition to our new flights, we’re also pleased to be further investing in the Denver community with our new Customer Contact Center,” Virgin America President and CEO David Cush said in a statement. “As an airline known for our industry-leading guest service, we’re pleased to be growing a critical part of our business in the region.”
Company officials said Colorado was becoming “Silicon Mountain” because of the innovative companies here and said that made Denver an ideal spot for expansion.
Local officials cheered Virgin’s arrival in the market this week.
“Virgin America is ideally suited to serve the Denver area. This entrepreneurial airline puts an emphasis on providing premium service and high-tech amenities that are perfect for Denver’s growing number of startup employees and business travelers,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement. “Denver is excited for this new air service to connect two cities that truly value innovation within their economies and I’m thrilled to welcome this airline to Colorado.”
At DIA, airport CEO Kim Day said travelers have asked airport leaders to add Virgin to the list of airlines that serve DIA.
“Denver, which shares many synergies with San Francisco as a hub for technology companies and entrepreneurs, will fill a gap in Virgin America’s growing list of domestic destinations and further stimulate both business and leisure travel between Denver and the West Coast,” she said in a statement.