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Virgin America loses $4 million in the second quarter

Virgin America (San Francisco) reported its financial results for the second quarter of 2012.  Total operating revenue for the second quarter grew by 29 percent to $347 million on a capacity increase of 32 percent.  The Company narrowed its operating loss to $4 million for the second quarter, and improved earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization, and aircraft rental expense (EBITDAR) by 44 percent, to a record high of $54 million.  EBITDAR margin for the second quarter rose to 16 percent, a 1.7 point year-over-year improvement.  Year-to-date Virgin America reported total revenue of $614 million – a 31 percent increase year-over-year.  Operating loss for the six months ended June 30, 2012, was $53 million.  Year-to-date the Company has achieved EBITDAR of $61 million, an improvement of 23 percent over the first six months of 2011.

In the second year of an unprecedented capacity growth cycle, Virgin America’s unit revenue (RASM) declined a modest 2 percent as compared to the second quarter of 2011.  Over the past two years, the airline has increased available seat miles (ASM) by 72 percent with an 11 percent increase in RASM.  The Company took delivery of one aircraft during the second quarter, ending the quarter with a total fleet of 52 Airbus A320 Family aircraft.   The airline has taken delivery of 24 aircraft total since the first quarter of 2010.  This rapid growth established Virgin America’s core network and provided an important base for the carrier’s future success.  This phase of accelerated growth is now largely complete, as Virgin America will take delivery of just one additional aircraft through the second quarter of 2013.

Cost per available seat mile (CASM) excluding fuel decreased by 1.5 percent, despite the cost pressures of growth, reflecting the benefits of economies of scale that Virgin America will see as growth slows.  Fuel costs during the quarter averaged $3.40 per gallon – a decrease of 3.4 percent year-over-year, although the quarter was still one of the highest cost periods in Virgin America’s history.   Virgin America maintains a hedging program to manage the volatility of fuel prices and provide some protection from short-term price increases.  As of June 30, the Company has hedged 58 percent of its expected fuel consumption for the rest of 2012, and 30 percent for the first half of 2013.

This year, Virgin America reached the threshold to be classified a major carrier for reporting purposes by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and as such began reporting its on-time performance, baggage handling and other key operational statistics to the DOT monthly.  For the second quarter of 2012, Virgin America achieved an 85.2 percent cumulative on-time performance, placing the carrier seventh for on-time performance among all reporting major U.S. carriers for the quarter.  The airline’s baggage handling rate for the first six months of 2012 was 0.88 mishandled baggage reports per 1000 guests, which placed it first among all reporting U.S. carriers for baggage reliability for the first half of 2012.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Airbus A320-214 N640VA (msn 3349) climbs away from Los Angeles International AIrport (LAX).

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