Virgin Atlantic cites business travel for profits rise

Airline names business and group bookings as revenue driver

Virgin Atlantic: business travel brings in profits
Virgin Atlantic: business travel brings in profits

Virgin Atlantic has said a surge in business travellers is responsible for an upturn in annual profits for its 2007/08 results.

Premium passenger numbers rose by 22% in a year that saw pre-tax profits before exceptional items rise 38%, from £44m to £60.9m. Group sales, rose 9.1% to £2.3bn. With exceptional items stripped out, pre-tax profits increased from £6.0m to £34.8m, a statement from the company said.

"While the outlook remains overcast for the aviation industry, the winners will be those that focus on offering the best customer service and are nimble enough to take advantage of the opportunities," said Virgin Atlantic chief executive Steve Ridgway. "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."

The total number of passengers carried during the year increased by 7.6%, to 5.7m, as Virgin Atlantic expanded the number of destinations it serves around the world to 30.

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