Virgin Atlantic Ltd today
published its accounts and results for the 10 months ending February 29,
2004 that show a pre tax profit of 20.9 million pounds Sterling ($37
million) on revenues of 1.272 billion pounds ($2.25 billion). Last year’s
results showed a profit of 15.7 million pounds ($27.8 million) on revenues
of 1.401 billion pounds ($2.48 billion) for the year ending April 2003.
Virgin Atlantic has recently changed its year end from April to February
to fit in with the reporting requirements of its shareholders, Virgin
Group and Singapore Airlines, whose financial years end in March. All
figures cover the activities of the airline and its holiday and cargo
The operating environment during the period reported on included the
effects of the war in Iraq, the SARS outbreak in Asia, increasing fuel
prices and the ongoing global terrorist threat.
Commenting on the results Richard Branson, Chairman of the company, said:
“To record any sort of profit in the period of trading is impressive and
I’m delighted that Virgin Atlantic has made over 20m pounds ($35 million)
and much of that has been down to a great performance by all our staff
over this period.
“While maintaining a tough grip on our costs we’re starting to see
positive signs in our revenues. Our passenger numbers are well up on last
year, in fact our load factors have been around 90% over the last few
months. Perhaps more significant is the improvement in passenger yields
and the early signs of a recovery in the business class market. However,
yields are still below historic levels while fuel prices are at a 13-year
high which means the trading environment remains tough.
“Nonetheless the last six months of trading has encouraged us to plan to
grow our business by around 10% annually going forward and in the next
year we plan to launch new routes such as Sydney, the Bahamas and Cuba
while adding capacity to the Far East and across the north Atlantic. We
will add three more Airbus A340-600 aircraft to our fleet and recruit
approximately 1400 staff.
“During the financial reporting period Virgin Atlantic invested heavily in
its products and people. It introduced the new award winning Upper Class
Suite in October which is now flying on 20% of the airline’s fleet, moved
from Terminal 1 to Terminal 4 at New York’s JFK airport and opened a new
state of the art Clubhouse there and took delivery of two Airbus A340-600
aircraft and the airline’s 13th Boeing 747-400.”
Richard Branson also commented, “All our operating companies delivered
impressive performances. Virgin Holidays has shown a 20% growth in the
buoyant UK leisure market to maintain its pre-eminent position in the UK
long haul travel scene and our cargo operations continue to flourish
winning “2004 Cargo Airline of the Year” for the third year running.
“I’d like to thank our loyal passengers and suppliers for their continued
support during the last ten months. In addition, all our staff must be
congratulated for all their efforts—be it in raising revenues or in
driving down costs—that contributed to the profit for the period. I
have no doubts that they will rise to the exciting challenges of the
coming year and ensure we report another solid performance for 2004/05.”