In 2002 Virgin Express (Euronext Brussels: VIRE; OTC
Bulletin Board: VIRGY) has carried more than 2.7 million passengers on its scheduled
services*, i.e. an increase of 14.1% compared with the 2.4 million passengers in 2001.
Back in 2001, almost 50% of the passengers carried by Virgin Express had booked with
Sabena. After the bankruptcy of the Belgian flag carrier in November 2001, the number
of passengers booking directly with Virgin Express started to grow massively and
climbed from 1.2 to 2.0 million passengers, i.e. an increase of 60.9%. The remaining
700,000 passengers were booked through codeshare partners such as SNBA.
Over the last nine months Virgin Express carried more passengers than any other airline
at Brussels Airport, thus making our home base the first main airport in Europe where
the market leader is a low fare carrier.
In 2001 Virgin Express entered all four major Global Distribution Systems (GDS) by
means of a new low cost booking system. This expansion of the distribution network via
Galileo, Worldspan, Sabre and Amadeus has drastically improved awareness of and
accessibility to the Virgin Express product by travel agencies.
Whereas GDS bookings accounted for 13.2% of total sales in 2001, the proportion of
GDS sales continued to grow and now accounts for 24.8% of all bookings.
In the year 2002 total internet bookings climbed 81.4% compared to 2001 and websales
turnover reached EUR 42.9 million. Virgin Express remains largely the most important
internet retailer in the Benelux.