Virgin Atlantic announces record profits

3 September 2009

Virgin Atlantic, one of the world’s leading long-haul airlines, today said that pretax profits increased to £68.4 million during the last financial year, up from £34.8 million the year before.

The strong results cover the period March 2008 to February 2009 and reflect an increase in the number of premium travellers choosing the airline, as well as prudent management decisions taken during the most volatile trading conditions in the airline’s 25-year history- where oil prices peaked at $147 per barrel and subsequently dipped as low as $38 per barrel.

Group sales, including leading tour operator Virgin Holidays, rose 8.4% from £2.380 billion to £2.579 billion. The total number of passengers carried during 2008 increased to 5.77 million. Employees will benefit from a bonus payout, as 10% of the Group’s profits is shared among staff.

Sir Richard Branson, President of Virgin Atlantic, commented:

"The last financial year has proven to be the most volatile yet in our 25-year history. To increase profits against a backdrop of such a severe recession is an excellent achievement by all of our staff at Virgin Atlantic."

Steve Ridgway, Chief Executive, added:

"We are winning market share from our competitors during the toughest trading environment ever. With some of the lowest fares ever, consumers have never had it so good for so long. Our load factors remain resilient as travellers take advantage of these bargain fares, proving the value of vigorous competition."

Virgin Atlantic today also highlighted that the plans by BA and AA to effectively merge are not in the interests of consumers. Both airlines overlap on some of the most popular airline routes in the world – to and from London Heathrow – and their proposals would mean less competition on key routes, such as Heathrow-New York JFK, Heathrow- Boston, Heathrow-Miami, Heathrow-Chicago, Heathrow-LA and Heathrow-Dallas Fort Worth.

Sir Richard Branson added:

"BA/AA is the first big test for the new administration’s competition policy. I am sure that the Department of Transportation will put the interests of consumers first rather than bow to the influence of the big-spending airline, with strong political connections."

The Department of Transportation is due to rule on the BA/AA application by the end of October. More details can be found at

Throughout the last financial year, Virgin Atlantic continued to scoop many key awards for its products and services. Its flagship Heathrow Clubhouse has won several awards for being Best Airline Business Lounge; Skytrax and Business Traveller named the airline’s Premium Economy cabin as the best in the air; while Virgin Atlantic was also chosen as the Best Scheduled Airline to the US at the Travel Weekly Globe Awards.

Virgin Atlantic will celebrate its 25th birthday on 22 June.

Virgin Holidays continued to expand and diversify its long-haul holiday range principally in the Middle East, Far East and Africa. Virgin Holidays Cruises, a new venture, has successfully expanded its cruise programmes, while a new premium brand has been launched in conjunction with Hip Hotels. Virgin Holidays continues to focus on delivering exceptional customer service with innovative ideas, such as the first leisure lounge in the UK, the V ROOM at Gatwick Airport.

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