Virgin America posts $40.3 million first-quarter loss
Virgin America reported a first-quarter net loss of $40.3 million, narrowed from a net deficit of $52 million in the year-ago period, and the nearly two-year-old carrier said it is poised to continue growing steadily.
President and CEO David Cush said, "Our first-quarter financial results exceeded our projections and we foresee continued strong revenue growth through the spring and summer." Revenue jumped 90.8% to $100.8 million as capacity increased 68.7% to 1.4 billion ASMs. The privately held carrier did not provide specific traffic figures but said its RPMs doubled year-over-year and load factor was up 12.1 points to 73.1%.
Operating expenses rose 27.7% to $132.4 million and operating loss narrowed to $31.6 million from $50.8 million in the prior-year period. RASM lifted 13.2% to 7.21 cents while CASM lowered 24.3% to 9.46 cents.
Meanwhile, the US Dept. of Transportation earlier last week released a letter it sent to House of Representatives Transportation Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.) stating that it is "reviewing. . .proposed transactions involving [VX´s] United States shareholders." Oberstar had urged DOT to review whether VX still meets the requirements of US airline ownership and control laws, echoing earlier allegations by Alaska Airlines that the carrier now is wholly owned by the UK´s Virgin Group (ATWOnline, April 3).
VX, which insists it is in compliance, said Friday that it has "solid financing" and is "focused on smart growth for the long haul." During the first quarter it launched service to Boston from both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Last month it completed installation of the Gogo inflight Internet service on its fleet and offers the service on each of its 100 daily flights (ATWOnline, May 21).