Virgin Atlantic Turns First Quarter Profit

While BA is struggling with a loss for the past three months, Virgin Atlantic has turned a profit. Its first quarter total airline sales are up 10 percent on last year to $800 million, and passenger load factor is up five percent points to 82 percent

Steve Ridgway, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, said that "demand is picking up across the majority of our routes and forward bookings for the summer have been very positive."

The airline stated that a strong increase in demand for its Upper Class cabin had led the revenue improvements on last year (the business class market share increased by five percent, with 15 percent additional Upper Class passengers), and it was also encouraged by the strong start on its new business route in Accra, Ghana. The overall revenue growth has been achieved despite the impact of the ash cloud effect in April—the airline estimates that the customer compensation and operational cost will total $46.8 million.

For the overall year, however, the numbers are not quite as rosy. Revenues decreased by 8.6 percent to $3.6 billion, with a group pre-tax operating loss of nearly $206 million. Still, the company has an improved cash position of nearly $703 million, and Virgin Holidays delivered a profit of $37.
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