Revenues at Virgin Atlantic grew by 3% to €3.46 billion for the full year to the end of February, as passenger numbers rose by 2% to reach 5.4 million, pushing load factor to 78%. However, fuel costs increased by a third, forcing the airline into a full-year pre-tax operating loss of €101.2 million (USD$124.5 million). That compares to a profit of €23.34 million in 2010-11.
CEO Steve Ridgway put an optimistic spin on the results. “In an incredibly challenging market, we have managed to grow top line revenues and fly more customers than last year," he said. “However, with the prevailing uncertainty in the economy, sky-high fuel prices and a 25% hike in our air passenger duty fees, converting this sales growth into profit has not been possible."
In contrast, Virgin Atlantic’s long-term rival British Airways posted an operating profit of €13 million in the six months to the end of June.