Virgin Atlantic swings to full-year loss
LONDON, Aug 3 — British airline Virgin Atlantic swung to a full-year loss as higher fuel costs and tough economic conditions took their toll, it said today.
The carrier, founded by serial entrepreneur Richard Branson, posted a pretax operating loss of £80.2 million (RM374 million) in the year to the end of February compared to a profit of £18.5 million in 2010/11.
The airline, part owned by Singapore Airlines, said revenues grew 3 per cent to £2.74 billion though fuel costs rose a third.
Virgin's passenger numbers rose 2 per cent to 5.4 million during the year and its load factor – a measure of how full its planes were – came in at 78 per cent.
“In an incredibly challenging market, we have managed to grow top line revenues and fly more customers than last year,” the airline's chief executive Steve Ridgway said.
“However, with the prevailing uncertainty in the economy, sky high fuel prices and a 25 per cent hike in our air passenger duty fees, converting this sales growth into profit has not been possible.”
The airline, which is due to take delivery of six new Airbus A330 planes in the coming months, said it had made an encouraging start to its new financial year.
Rival British Airways, part of the IAG group, posted an operating profit of 13 million euros RM50 million) in the six months to the end of June. — Reuters