MIAMI — British carrier, Virgin Atlantic, has reported a loss in 2017 after what the airline has described as a ‘challenging year’. Virgin Atlantic has seen a pre-tax loss of £28.4 million in 2017.
Despite an increase in the number of flights out of Manchester and Glasgow, the airline has seen a drop of 0.1 million passengers from 2016. This means that Virgin has seen a load factor drop of 0.4% down to 78.3%.
“There were three big external issues that we had to deal with in 2017,” Virgin Atlantic chief executive Craig Kreeger explained. “The full year impact of a weak sterling relative to the dollar, an industry-wide engine supply issue and severe hurricane disruption in the Caribbean and US.”
One important factor that has affected the airline were the issues with the Dreamliner engines. The Rolls–Royce engine fan blades are causing faster wear and corrosion than normal, translating into an accelerated need to enter into maintenance, causing the planes to be grounded for a longer period of time.
When asked about their plans on how the carrier will mitigate the engine’s woes, Virgin wished to provide no comment.
“While some of these challenges will remain prevalent in 2018, we will stay focused on delivering for our customers,” Kreeger said.
“We have just announced the biggest change to our Economy offer in a decade to introduce three new products from spring. Virgin Holidays will continue to innovate with the launch of the world’s first Departure Beach this summer and our cargo operations will continue to grow in the high-value pharmaceuticals market through our new Pharma Zone at Heathrow.”
Despite these issues, it would appear that Virgin Atlantic will be able to bounce back in 2018 with an additional service to Johannesburg. This new flight was announced from London-Heathrow yesterday starting in winter this year.
The first of these additional services is due to depart on the 28 of October, departing London-Heathrow at 4:45 pm local time and arriving in Johannesburg at 5:50 pm local time.
Virgin Atlantic is expected to take delivery of all of its Boeing 787-9s and Airbus A350-1000s aircraft by 2022, which, according to them, will see the removal of their four-engine fleeted aircraft, allowing a reduction in fuel and maintenance costs.