Virgin Atlantic Airways Accelerates Out of Recession With Strong Q1 Sales

- Q1 total airline sales up 10% on last year

- Passenger load factor up 5% points to 82%

- Cargo revenue up 36%

- 300 new jobs created in the UK

- New corporate brand identity launched

Jul 30, 2010, 08:00 ET from Virgin Atlantic Airways

SOUTH NORWALK, Conn., July 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite a challenging economic environment, leading long haul airline, Virgin Atlantic Airways today announced strong first quarter revenue growth and increases in passenger numbers.  This improvement was attributed to steady growth in both business and leisure customers including market share gains from its competitors.

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Steve Ridgway, Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic, said:

"The start of the year has been encouraging despite difficult trading conditions.  Demand is picking up across the majority of our routes and forward bookings for the summer have been very positive.  From all of the major operational challenges that we have faced this year – including snow and volcanic ash – the response from everyone at Virgin Atlantic has been outstanding."

The airline stated that a strong increase in demand in its Upper Class cabin had led the revenue improvements on last year 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 30 million pounds Sterling.

2010/11 Quarter (March to May)

  • Total airline revenue up 10% to 513m pounds
  • Passenger load factor up 5% points to 82%
  • Business class market share increased by 5% with 15% additional Upper Class passengers
  • New Accra route launched in May 2010 reaching 77% load factor
  • Cargo revenue up 36% to 52m pounds

2009/10 Full Year Performance

  • Revenues decreased by 8.6% to 2,356.6m pounds
  • Group pre-tax operating loss of 132m pounds
  • Airline operating costs reduced by 8%
  • Improved cash position of 450.5m pounds
  • Virgin Holidays delivered profit of 24m pounds

Steve Ridgway said:

"Along with the rest of the industry, we have just faced one of the toughest years in our history.  However, the early action that we took to deal with the losses from the worst recession on record, not only enabled us to protect the business; it provided us with a strong platform for growth this year.  We have just delivered a new brand identity, are hiring hundreds of new staff and are looking forward to the new aircraft deliveries early next spring."

Virgin Atlantic has this week unveiled a new brand and corporate identity, will be adding five new A330 aircraft next spring complete with a new in-flight entertainment system, as well as a new route from Manchester to Las Vegas.   The airline is currently recruiting 300 staff of which 150 roles will be cabin crew, with the remainder of jobs created for its new customer call center due open in Swansea this autumn.  The new cabin crew positions include support for its new route from Manchester to Las Vegas.

For further information please contact the Virgin Atlantic Press Office at 203-750-2570 or log onto

SOURCE Virgin Atlantic Airways