North America Makes Positive Contribution as Virgin Atlantic Airways Returns to Profit

-- Pre tax profit $30.1 million (18.5m pounds Sterling)

-- 2010/11 Revenues up 13 percent

-- 2010/11 Revenues on routes between the US and the UK up 21 percent

-- 1,000 jobs created

-- Cargo revenues up 39 percent

Aug 10, 2011, 09:25 ET from Virgin Atlantic Airways

SOUTH NORWALK, Conn., Aug. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Virgin Atlantic Airways today announced a $162.9 million (100m pounds) investment in product development as it reported a strong year of trading and a return to profit.  Despite the winter closure of London Heathrow and the Ash Cloud crisis costing the business a combined $65.2 million (40m pounds), strong growth in business traffic and solid load factors across all cabins delivered a good recovery.

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On the airline's routes between the US and the UK, which include five daily flights from New York to Heathrow, summer flights from Orlando to three UK airports, and service from eight other destinations, there was a very strong 21 percent growth in revenue.

Chris Rossi, Senior Vice President of Virgin Atlantic in North America said:

"These are excellent results for the U.S.  In a challenging environment for the industry, we're delighted to have grown revenue by 21 percent year over year. Stronger economic performance on both sides of the Atlantic produced healthy growth in traffic, passenger market share gains across our gateways and more rational market capacity."

Rossi added, "We will continue to differentiate ourselves by offering outstanding products and customer service both in the air and on the ground. We're excited about where Virgin Atlantic is headed in the U.S. market, and there's a lot more to come."

Steve Ridgway, Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic, said:

"We have demonstrated the resilience of our business by weathering the toughest economic period for aviation and have now returned the business to profit.  

"A sharp recovery in the first half of the year has been tempered by more challenged trading in the latter period due to increased capacity in the market and high fuel prices."

2010/11 Full Year Performance

  • Pre-tax operating profit of $30.1 million (18.5m pounds)
  • Revenues increased by 13 percent to $4.4 billion (2.7bn pounds)
  • Cargo revenue increased by 39 percent to $364.9 million (224m pounds)
  • 82 percent load factor
  • Strong year-end cash position of $915.6 million (562m pounds)
  • New London to Accra route launched

"Whilst we have been very focused on trading the airline back to profitability, we have worked hard to introduce new aircraft, new routes and extra rotations to the existing network where there has been high demand.  This year we are investing heavily in new product innovation so that we retain and enhance our leadership in customer service and experience," said Ridgway.

Quarter 1 2011/12 (March 1 to May 31, 2011)

  • Total airline revenues up by 7.6 percent to $1.07 billion (658m pounds)
  • Two new Airbus A330s introduced on leisure routes
  • New Manchester to Las Vegas route launched

Ridgway added: "Since the turn of the year, market conditions have become tougher with increased capacity, faltering consumer confidence and high fuel prices.  We are also seeing softer trading in the areas that are hit hardest by the continued rises in Air Passenger Duty, particularly the Caribbean routes and Premium Economy cabins.  Whilst business traffic remains strong, demand in the economy cabin is more challenged."

This year, Virgin Atlantic will be reviewing and updating many aspects of its product offer both in the air and on the ground.  The $162.9 million (100m pounds) investment, the arrival of new Airbus A330 aircraft and additional services to the Caribbean and Ghana will create 1,000 jobs across the airline including major recruitment drives for cabin crew and pilots.

To book a flight with Virgin Atlantic, log onto or call 800.862.8621.

For further information about Virgin Atlantic contact the Virgin Atlantic US Press Office at 203.750.2570 or visit

SOURCE Virgin Atlantic Airways