Virgin Atlantic has reported a sharp rise in profits in the year to the end of February, bucking a trend seen by other airlines including main rival British Airways who reported a record annual operating loss of £401 million on Friday. The airline said pre-tax profits soared from £34.8 million to £68.4 million in the year to February, despite a backdrop of volatile oil prices and a deep recession.
The results reflect a rise in the number of premium or first and business class passengers using the airline, the group said in a statement.
Virgin is waging a campaign against BA’s attempt to secure approval for a transatlantic profit sharing tie-up with American Airlines.
Richard Branson said: “The last financial year has proven to be the most volatile yet in our 25-year history. To increase profits against a backdrop of such a severe recession is an excellent achievement by all of our staff at Virgin Atlantic.”
Chief Executive Steve Ridgway said: “We are winning market share from our competitors during the toughest trading environment ever. With some of the lowest fares ever, consumers have never had it so good for so long.”
Ridgway added: “Our load factors remain resilient as travelers take advantage of these bargain fares, proving the value of vigorous competition.”