Virgin Atlantic announced a return to profit today, fulfilling the pledge of a turnaround by 2015 made by chief executive Craig Kreeger when he took over two years ago.
Kreeger reported a pre-tax profit of £14.4 million for the year to December 2014 after Virgin Atlantic lost £51 million the previous year and reported cumulative losses of £346 million in the five years from 2010 to 2013.
In a statement, the company noted: “Virgin Atlantic has delivered on the target it set in February 2013 to return to profit within two years.
“It’s now looking to the future and positioning the business for future growth and sustained profitability.”
The carrier reported annual group revenue of £2.9 billion after carrying almost 6.16 million passengers in the year. Its operating costs were flat year on year, yet Virgin reported passenger satisfaction scores up for a third year in succession.
Tour operator Virgin Holidays recorded a pre-tax profit of £5.7 million, up £3 million on 2013.
Virgin Atlantic chief executive Craig Kreeger said: “These results mark the successful conclusion of our recovery period and have put firm foundations in place for the future.
“We are confident we have the right fleet, network and partners to be more profitable than ever before by 2018.”
Kreeger said: “We had a clearly defined strategy to transform the financial performance of the business and can be rightly proud that we delivered that in a rigorous timeframe, while investing in continuous improvements to our passengers’ experience.”
He added: “We want to be the airline most loved by our customers by always putting them at the centre of everything we do.”
Virgin Atlantic president and founder Sir Richard Branson said: “I can’t think of a better way to complete our 30th birthday year than with a return to profit.”
Mark Anderson, managing director of Virgin Holidays, said the results were a vindication of the operator’s ‘Five Year Plan’ to focus on core destinations of Florida and the Caribbean in addition to growing high-margin strands including cruise and luxury and improving business performance.
He added: “These results are a fantastic testament to our team, following a year of considerable change. Continued currency fluctuations, domestic financial insecurity and new business models all represent challenges to the established long-haul travel industry.
“By maintaining a disciplined focus on exceeding our customers’ expectations during the last 12 months, we have the firm foundations on which to deliver our Five Year Plan and meet those challenges head-on.”
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