Virgin Atlantic swung to a full-year loss as higher fuel costs and tough economic conditions took their toll.
The carrier, founded by serial entrepreneur Richard Branson, posted a pretax operating loss of GBP£80.2 million (USD$124.5 million) in the year to the end of February compared to a profit of GBP£18.5 million in 2010/11.
The airline, part owned by Singapore Airlines, said revenues grew 3 percent to GBP£2.74 billion though fuel costs rose a third.
Virgin’s passenger numbers rose 2 percent to 5.4 million during the year and its load factor came in at 78 percent.
“In an incredibly challenging market, we have managed to grow top line revenues and fly more customers than last year,” the airline’s chief executive Steve Ridgway said.
“However, with the prevailing uncertainty in the economy, sky high fuel prices and a 25 percent hike in our air passenger duty fees, converting this sales growth into profit has not been possible.”
The airline, which is due to take delivery of six new Airbus A330s in the coming months, said it had made an encouraging start to its new financial year.
Rival British Airways, part IAG, posted an operating profit of EUR€13 million in the six months to the end of June.