Virgin Atlantic posts first profit since 2011
Virgin Atlantic has returned to profit for the first time since 2011 as it benefits from its joint venture with Delta Air Lines. The airline made £14.4 million in 2014, representing an improvement of £65.4 million on the previous year. Richard Branson, founder and president, set a target in February 2013 to return to profit within two years.
Virgin said its partnership with Delta Air Lines, launched in January 2014, helped the carrier have a successful year. More than 4.5 million passengers flew on joint venture services in its first year of operation and the two airlines expect this number to continue to grow in 2015. The number of code share routes between the two airlines recently increased to 484 and its peak daily transatlantic services will rise to 39 from summer 2015. This includes 10 daily departures between London and New York.
CEO Craig Kreeger said that the airline was on course to consistently post £100 million-plus annual profits by 2018, helped by more fuel-efficient planes and extended benefits from its transatlantic partnership, and despite a small profit margin the airline was still celebrating meeting the three targets in its recovery plan.
“We embarked with three specific goals – to get back in profit, preserve the magic for our people, and improve customer experience, and it’s great to report that we achieved all of those,” said Kreeger.
“It’s a step on a journey not an end point. We’ve got every expectation that the future will be much better. In 2015 alone we will take delivery of eight Boeing 787s: they give a customer service benefit but also generate financial savings in decreased fuel consumption, and we’re replacing 50% of our fleet by 2018,” he added.
Last year, the airline withdrew its domestic operation Little Red, with flights between Heathrow and Manchester ceasing later this month and Heathrow and Edinburgh and Aberdeen stopping in September.