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Virgin Atlantic posts full-year loss


Richard Branson's airline blamed the loss on economic conditions and higher fuel costs

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Virgin Atlantic on Friday reported a full-year, pre-tax operating loss of £80.2 million due to escalating fuel costs and a worsening economic outlook, the airline said.

This year’s loss at Richard Branson’s airline compares to a profit of £18.5 million in 2010/11.

The airline, part owned by Singapore Airlines, said revenues grew 3 percent to £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 - a measure of how full its planes were - 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 A330 planes in the coming months, said it had made an encouraging start to its new financial year.

Rival British Airways, part of the IAG group, posted an operating profit of €13 million euros in the six months to the end of June.

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