Virgin Atlantic returns to profit on Delta alliance

Adam Hignett
Virgin Atlantic’s profits have taken off with the help of Delta Airlines
Virgin Atlantic is back in the black after its partnership with Delta Air­lines helped to return the carrier to profit in 2014 for the first time in three years, it emerged yesterday.

The airline, founded by Sir Richard Branson 30 years ago, used the positive news to pledge it would seek to exceed its previous pre-tax profit record of £99m by 2018.

The record was set in 1999, but since then the company has seen profits decline as increasing competition and previously high fuel costs weighed on results.

Virgin’s return to profit has coincided with a joint venture with Delta Airlines which bought a 49 per cent stake in Virgin Atlantic in 2013, bringing passenger pooling and better connectivity.

While revenues remained flat at £2.9bn, the improved synergies saw the company post a pre-tax profit of £14.4m for 2014 compared with a £51m loss the previous year.

The carrier also saw a rise in passenger satisfaction despite more than 14 per cent of its flights running behind schedule.

Chief executive Craig Kreeger said the increased customer satisfaction was the result of a committed workforce.

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