Virgin to focus on business sector

Virgin Atlantic has unveiled a new three-year growth plan aimed at capturing greater business market share, with products tailored towards premium passengers at the heart of the strategy. The airline is targeting an increase of at least 10% in the number of business travellers over the next year.

A combination of new and extended business routes - such as London-Dubai and a sixth daily service between London and New York - as well as offering the award-winning Upper Class Suite on all routes, will enable Virgin Atlantic to offer the best business service in the air. The Upper Class Suite features the longest fully-flat bed in any business class.

On the ground, Virgin Atlantic is also extending its facilities for business passengers. The new London Heathrow Clubhouse features the ultimate pre-travel experience, including jacuzzi and spa treatments, pool table and roof garden. There will also be an increased focus on DIY check-in online or at the airport, making the Virgin experience as seamless as possible.

The three-year growth plan, aimed at further boosting operating margins and building continuing profitability, also includes exciting changes for travellers using Premium Economy and Economy. Trials are already underway for new seating in both classes, with a continuing emphasis on space and comfort.

Virgin Atlantic also intends to expand its leisure operations, with new routes to Dubai and Montego Bay, Jamaica being launched during 2006. Working further with the travel trade, Virgin Holidays will be increasing its sales footprint, with more destinations on offer than ever before.


The next three years will also see major changes for Virgin Atlantic passengers at London Heathrow’s Terminal 3. Plans are underway to significantly speed up the check-in and boarding process, continuing Virgin’s pioneering approach to providing the best travel experience, whether on the ground or in the air. Working with BAA, Virgin Atlantic will unveil further details on its plans later this year.

Steve Ridgway, Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic, said:

“With a private member’s club on the ground and a private suite in the air, we’re delivering exactly what our passengers have been asking for - a seamless service with the privacy they need. With our focus on pioneering products and service quality, as well as new routes for business travellers, we are confident that Virgin Atlantic will deliver another strong, and profitable, performance over the next three years. We have no doubt that we will become the airline of choice for the long-haul business traveller during that period.

“Our highly successful leisure business, through Virgin Holidays, will continue to grow as well, further underpinning the strength of the Group as we drive to increase margins in a world of €60 per barrel fuel.”

In 2004/5, Virgin Atlantic announced pretax profits of £68m and revenues totalling £1.63 billion. The airline operates the newest long-haul fleet in the world, with 18 aircraft out of its total fleet of 33 having been introduced since 2000.