September 29 2022, Kimpton Fitzroy London
Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
Virgin Atlantic has followed Qantas, another long haul airline, in announcing record carryings. Premium passenger numbers rose by 22% during the year to 5.7m, as the Heathrow-centered operator took market share from British Airways and others.
In a statement on Monday (26 August) the carrier, 49% owned by Singapore International Airlines, said that annual pretax profits before exceptional items rose 38%, from ”44m to ”60.9m. Annual sales increased 9.1% to ”2.33bn. Virgin Atlantic's cash position remained strong, with nearly ”600m in the bank at the end of the financial year. Cash reserves have continued to build and were ”838m at the end of June 2008.
Steve Ridgway, chief executive, sounded a cautious note in spite of profits in first quarter 2008/09 rising to ”23.5m
"While the outlook remains pretty overcast for the aviation industry, the winners will be those airlines that focus on offering the best customer service and which are nimble enough to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead. Our strategy of slowing our growth has paid off in time for the slowdown in the industry. Against the backdrop of high oil prices and weakening consumer demand, we are well-placed to succeed over the coming months. We have diversified our route network, focused on providing the best product in Upper Class, Premium Economy and Economy, hedged our fuel purchasing and built up a strong cash position."
Virgin says that part of the increases are due to what it calls "the T5 effect, the ongoing problems at the new Heathrow terminal". Routes launched during the last year include London Heathrow to Chicago, Nairobi and Mauritius, as well as Gatwick to Kingston.
The annual profits triggered a bonus payout to staff, who each receive the equivalent of one and a half week's extra pay. Some 10% of the Group's profits is shared among staff.
Virgin Atlantic was launched in June 1984 and was profitable in its first year. It now has a fleet of 38 aircraft, 13 Boeing 747 - 400 and a mixture of 25 Airbus A340's in various configurations. Like its great rival BA it has on order both the Airbus A380 super jumbo, and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.