Virgin Atlantic reported a pre-tax loss of £206 million for the 2022 financial year, which the carrier referred to as “a year of recovery and ramp up” in financial results posted on Wednesday (10 May).
The UK-based carrier reported a total £2.9 billion in revenue for the year, recovering to 98 per cent of pre-Covid revenues, while underlying earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) came in at £71 million, marking a return to pre-pandemic levels of performance.
Despite industry-wide staff shortages and capacity restrictions introduced at London Heathrow last summer, the carrier reported a flight completion factor of 99.5 per cent.
The carrier saw “robust” customer demand return by spring, fuelled in part by revenge travel and the return of the corporate traveller.
Passenger capacity (ASKs) increased 178 per cent compared to 2021, 81 per cent of 2019 levels, while passenger unit revenue (PRASK) grew to 5.26p, up 23 per cent on 2019.
Virgin Atlantic CFO Oli Buyers said: “Our 2022 financial results reflect the first year of recovery following the immense challenges faced by our industry due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Maintaining our commitment to customer experience throughout the pandemic ensured that when passenger demand returned, Virgin Atlantic was positioned to capitalise – and we delivered, with 2022 passenger revenues recovering to pre-pandemic levels.”
Following “disciplined capacity management” the carrier ended the year with a strong cash position of £399 million after paying down £92 million of debt and purchasing three slot pairs at London Heathrow.
Buyers added that 2023 “will be a year of delivery” as the carrier plans to fly more sectors than in 2019 with four fewer aircraft.
The carrier expects underlying EBITDA in 2023 to increase to “a record level”, however the combined effects of a weak pound, persistent high inflation, fuel prices and rising interest rates mean a return to profitability is now expected in 2024.