Carty Optimistic on Virgin America Capital Plan

Don Carty IMG_1032Don Carty, the ex-AMR CEO who’s now chairman of Virgin America, which was founded by Sir Richard Branson, says he’s “confident” the feds will OK a new investment group for the discount airline. Approval is important for Virgin, which targets business travelers, because it’s been dogged by controversy since two big U.S. hedge funds sold their 76 percent stake in the airline earlier this year. Virgin rivals say that means the California-based carrier is really controlled by Branson’s Virgin Group Ltd., which would be a violation of rules against foreign ownership of domestic airlines. So, is there a timetable for the U.S. Transportation Department to OK Virgin’s new shareholders? “God only knows,” Carty (pictured) joked last night, hosting a party for a local nonprofit at his home in Dallas. DOT’s plate is “pretty full” right now, he added, including with a pending decision on the American Airlines/British Airways alliance.