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The pink Champagne at Gate 12 in SFO’s International Terminal was a fitting accompaniment to Virgin America Inc.’s inaugural flight to Toronto on Tuesday.
With Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mayor Gavin Newsom leading the huzzahs, the Bay Area’s low-cost airline – the only airline based in California – was making its international debut as well as its latest mark on the airline industry map.
SFO also had cause to celebrate. Thanks in part to Virgin America’s expansion, “we’ve seen a 4 to 5 percent increase in passenger traffic in the past year, and 10 percent in international traffic,” said SFO spokesman Michael McCarron. Some of that has to do with the slow recovery of the travel business, but it’s also been helped, said McCarron, “by focusing on what we do well – international.”