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Virgin America prices IPO, prepares for takeoff

Virgin America Joins Ranks Of U.S. Low-Fare AirlinesVirgin America Joins Ranks Of U.S. Low-Fare Airlines
Virgin Group chairman Sir Richard Branson.Photo by Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Virgin America, the low-cost airline backed by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, raised roughly $307 million in its initial public offering on Thursday, according to Reuters.

The airline, which began service in 2007, priced its shares at $23 each after previously setting an expected range of $21 to $24 per share. The IPO values Virgin America at a shade under $1 billion after the airline sold 13.3 million shares.

Shares are expected to start trading Friday on Nasdaq, under the symbol “VA.”

As Time noted, Virgin America is consistently rated as a top domestic airline in public opinion polls, but the airline has also historically struggled financially with more than $670 million in losses over its first five years in existence. Things have improved recently, though, as dropping prices for jet-fuel helped the airline record third-quarter profits of $41.6 million, up 24% year-over-year.

Last year, Virgin America posted its first-ever profitable year with over $10 million in profits on revenue of $1.4 billion.

Barclays, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank Securities served as underwriters for the IPO.

Virgin America is known for its leather seats, cocktail lounge-style lighting and on board Wi-Fi. The airline’s main hub is San Francisco with flights to 20 destinations including Mexico.