Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Virgin Atlantic Adds to BA Gloom as Profits Double

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Virgin Atlantic Adds to BA Gloom as Profits Double

Article excerpt

Byline: Iain Laing

VIRGIN Atlantic has piled on the misery for struggling rival British Airways by announcing virtually doubled annual profits.

The airline said pre-tax profits had soared from pounds 34.8m to pounds 68.4m in the year to last February, despite volatile oil prices and a deep recession.

The results contrast with BA's record annual operating loss of pounds 401m, reported last Friday, after its fuel bill reached almost pounds 3bn.

Virgin Atlantic, majority owned by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, flew 5.8 million passengers in the period and more of them were premium travellers.

Last Friday BA reported a 13% fall in premium travellers for its second half.

Virgin spent almost pounds 1bn on fuel last year, but hedged on oil prices and currency benefits. Virgin Atlantic, which marks its 25th birthday in June, has 38 aircraft and 8,500 staff. They will get 10% of the profit in bonuses.

Sir Richard said: "To increase profits against a backdrop of such a severe recession is an excellent achievement by all of our staff. …

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