Dean Cookson Named to Top Tech Post for the Silicon Valley-based Airline

San Francisco – February 15, 2011 – Virgin America, the award-winning airline known for its innovative service, today announces the appointment of Dean Cookson as the Company’s new Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO). A 20-year IT industry veteran, Cookson has extensive experience in architecting and building large-scale, high-performance systems. In the CIO position, Cookson will develop and lead the growing Silicon Valley-based airline’s strategic technology initiatives, including the implementation of the Company’s new reservations and operational platforms in 2011.

“As a young airline, the integrity, speed and efficiency of our technology platforms are critically important to our business,” said Virgin America CEO and President David Cush. “Dean has a wealth of experience in building IT platforms that improve efficiency and user experience in technology-driven businesses – from start-ups to larger companies. His expertise will help shape our IT capabilities at a pivotal point of growth for Virgin America – and we couldn’t be more pleased to welcome him.”

Cookson comes to Virgin America from Basho Technologies, where he served as Vice President of Business Development. Prior to that, Cookson served as Chief of Operations at the HP-owned Snapfish, where he had responsibility for all aspects of site delivery, product fulfillment and customer support. Before joining Snapfish, Cookson served as Director of Operations at Looksmart, where he oversaw production systems, database, network and data centers.

In his new role, Cookson will oversee Virgin America’s data centers, storage subsystems, core application infrastructure and integration, and the architecture of its website.

Cookson attended Case Western Reserve University and Northeastern University in Boston, where he studied Computer Science. Cookson lives in Mill Valley with his wife and two sons.

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Media Contact: Katie Baynes (650) 762-7081 /

EDITORS NOTES: Virgin America is a U.S.-controlled, owned and operated airline. It is an entirely separate company from Virgin Atlantic. Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is a minority share investor in Virgin America.

About Virgin America: Since its August 2007 launch, the California-based Virgin America has experienced major growth – expanding to multiple destinations across North America, creating 1,900 new jobs and welcoming over 11 million guests to date. In January 2011, the airline ordered 60 new Airbus A320 aircraft for delivery starting in 2013, including 30 of the A320neo aircraft – the first commercial order for the new eco-efficient engine option. With that growth and growth from other sources, Virgin America’s fleet will more than triple in size – from its current 36 aircraft to 111 aircraft by 2019. Virgin America offers in-flight internet service on every flight and hosts the largest in-flight entertainment library in the domestic skies via the Red™ platform. In just over three years flying, Virgin America was named “Best Domestic Airline” in the Condé Nast Traveler 2008, 2009 and 2010 Readers’ Choice Awards and “Best Domestic Airline” in Travel + Leisure’s 2008, 2009 and 2010 World’s Best Awards. For photos and more: