Virgin Blue expects 40% rise in profits

Virgin Blue estimates its reported profit after tax for 2006/07 will be in excess of $158 million, a 40 percent increase on the previous corresponding period result of $113 million. The revised forecast follows an improvement in market conditions and the airline’s performance as a result of initiatives under its New World Carrier strategy launched last year.

The Company also advises that as a result of the improved outlook and finalisation of the Long Haul Feasibility Plan, the Board has confirmed its in principle support for an international wide-body operation.

The planning and implementation phase of this venture will now be expedited and subject to conditions such as regulatory approval, the granting of adequate bi-lateral access and conclusion of aircraft negotiations, the airline expects to launch international long haul operations by late 2008.

The Company will provide a detailed progress report at the Half Year Results announcement in February 2007.