Virgin Atlantic sees profits double - what recession, BA?

We told you last week how British Airways had taken the economic recession on the chin, quickly followed by a Kato-style karate chop to the windpipe. BA reported a loss before tax of £401 million for the year to March 31st, compared to a profit of nearly £1 billion for the previous year. One of the reasons cited by the airline was the drop in passengers flying business and first class - a fall of 13 per cent - because it's on these margins that airlines make their profits.

Not so at their price-fixing compadres/hotheaded competitors Virgin Atlantic, who have just announced an increase in revenue to the end of February of over eight per cent, and a near-doubling of profits from £34.8 million to £68.4 million. The airline carried nearly six million passengers - still a long way short of BA's 33 million - but have stated the improved performance is down to the increase in sales of premium economy, business and first class seats.

Virgin have benefited from a series of strategic sales throughout the year, which have seen transatlantic flights drop to as little as £250 for economy seats, and around £500 for premium economy. BA's current tactic is to go straight for the jugular with a business class sale, although economy flights for Autumn are currently available for a shade over £300.


  • David
    Having flown Virgin Atlantic to Hong Kong from Heathrow late last year I can understand why they've made a profit; the service/food/seat/legroom were all abysmal, and there wasn't enough oxygen on so someone passed out - hitting the gangway face down. The staff took ages to respond I ended up checking that they were OK. Terrible airline and I won't fly with them again.
  • Mike H.
    David, please don't give Mr 'Hairy' O'Lairy of RyanAir any ideas about lack of Oxygen, we don't want a fare to enable passengers to breath.
  • PB
    What a crock of shit, "wasn't enough oxygen on"
  • lidds
    "and there wasn’t enough oxygen on so someone passed out" hahaha you honeslty think this is true
  • Marc
    Don't suppose you happen to work for BA do you David??
  • David
    Nope - the lower the level of oxygen in the cabin air, the cheaper it is for them to fly - 26% is the legal minimum.
  • Chris
    "wasn’t enough oxygen on" They don't carry tanks of oxygen, apart for the supplemental supply used in case of emergency. The cabin is instead pressurised using air "bled" from the engines, to a level equivalent to about 8000 feet. The idea that any airline would break JAA's regulations by not putting enough oxygen "on" is absurd.
  • Colin
    I have always prefer Virgin over BA, but my last experience of virgin early this year on a flight to Orlando has change this. As my wife pass out due to unbearable hot cabin temperature! The tea or breakfast is just an unedible roll plus drink. Request for extra drinks, other than the two trolley runs, never arrive. Virgin are turning into a budget airline that does not care about it customers just profit. Let see if they do as well next year?
  • Rajeev S.
    Well this is an interesting post... account of not enough oxygen is a hillarious one.
  • Andy
    "the lower the level of oxygen in the cabin air, the cheaper it is for them to fly - 26% is the legal minimum" David, What percentage of air is oxygen?
  • BA B.
    [...] going on to blow £1.3 billion on new aircraft to prove the point before boozing most of its £68 million profit away on a transatlantic [...]
  • Ian S.
    Having flown with virgin just this morning... to Vegas I've got to say - they are terrible. The food was unedible, even a midget would have found the legroom lacking and the 'award winning' entertainment was a joke - each movie was on repeat on a different channel - but as each film is a different length you would finish one and the others would be half way through.... The only thing I can be thankful for is that they didn't crash.

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