Tag Archives: 40956

Virgin Atlantic returns to the black for 2014

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) has returned to the black. The group reported a £14.4 million ($21.4 million) profit (pre tax and exceptional items) for the year of 2014. This represents a £65.4 million ($97.3 million) improvement from the £51 million ($75.9 million) pre-tax loss for the year of 2013.

The airline issued this statement:

For the year ended December 31, 2014, the Group is reporting a profit before tax and exceptional items of £14.4 million, representing an improvement of £65.4 million on the previous year’s financial performance.

The results confirm that Virgin Atlantic has delivered on the target it set in February 2013 to return to profit within two years. It is now looking to the future and positioning the business for future growth and sustained profitability whilst making significant investment in customer experience.

Calendar year ending December 2014 Group Performance at a glance:

A Group pre-tax, pre-exceptional items, profit over 12 months of £14.4 m, an improvement of £65.4 m on the year ending December 2013 (£51.0 m pre-tax loss)
Group revenue of £2.9 billion
Airline unit revenue up 0.5% (up 3.5% at constant currency)
6,156,000 passengers flown
Average revenue passenger load factors of 77.38%
Airline unit operating costs flat year-on-year at constant currency
Virgin Holidays recorded a profit for the year before tax and exceptional items of £5.7m, up £3m year on year, and increased revenue by 1.1%
Cargo revenue down 1.8% year on year (up 3.1% at constant currency) with strong export demand from the UK

For the third consecutive year, passenger satisfaction scores have increased, with an 11% improvement since 2012. The airline’s on time performance remains high with 85.5% of flights departing within 15 minutes of schedule. Virgin Atlantic remains focused on delivering the best possible experience and service to its customers enhanced by a £300m investment in this area by 2018.

Chief Executive Craig Kreeger said:

“We want to be the airline most loved by our customers by always putting them at the centre of everything we do. These profitable results mark the successful conclusion of our recovery period and have put firm foundations in place for the future. We are confident that we have the right fleet, network and partners in place to be more profitable than ever before by 2018.

“We had a clearly defined strategy to transform the financial performance of the business and everyone involved can be rightly proud that we delivered that in a rigorous timeframe, while investing in continuous improvements to our passengers’ experience. I would like to thank our customers for their support, and our people for delivering the exceptional customer service that remains uniquely Virgin Atlantic.”

Strategic changes in the business along with operational and cost efficiencies have driven the improved financial performance this year. In October, the airline took delivery of the first of its state of the art, fuel-efficient Boeing 787-9s (above), with seven more to follow in 2015 as part of a fleet regeneration programme.

Virgin Atlantic and its customers gained significant benefit from its joint venture partnership with Delta Air Lines, launched in January 2014. Over 4.5million passengers flew on joint venture services in its first year of operation and the two airlines expect this number to continue to grow in 2015. The partnership’s total number of code share routes recently increased to 484 and its peak daily transatlantic services will rise to 39 from summer 2015. This includes ten daily departures between London and New York – the world’s busiest business travel market.

The increased transatlantic flying follows a network review undertaken by Virgin Atlantic in 2014 which led to its exit from several loss-making routes. The airline also took the decision to withdraw its domestic operation Little Red, with flights between Heathrow and Manchester ceasing later this month and Heathrow and Edinburgh and Aberdeen stopping in September 2015. New routes will be launched this summer between Manchester and Atlanta, London Heathrow and Detroit, and London Gatwick and Tobago, as well as a series of seasonal flights between Belfast and Orlando and Glasgow and Las Vegas. There will also be increased frequency in services between Heathrow and major US destinations including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta and New York.

Virgin Holidays’ revenue and profit improvements were driven by a strong performance in its key North American market, where turnover grew by more than 10%, and disciplined cost control across the business. The company also enjoyed a four-point increase in its Net Promoter Score. During 2014, it implemented a new five-year plan to drive customer satisfaction, staff engagement and profitability to record levels by 2019.

Virgin Atlantic President, Sir Richard Branson, said:

“I can’t think of a better way to complete our 30th birthday year than with a return to profit. The team at Virgin Atlantic has done a great job in turning around the airline and has the right strategy to take the business from strength to strength. Keeping our customers and our people at the heart of everything we do gives me great confidence in our future and I look forward to the next 30 years.”

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Virgin Atlantic Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner G-VNEW (msn 40956) “Birthday Girl” climbs away from London (Heathrow).

Virgin Atlantic aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

AG A team of photographers

Virgin Atlantic to offer a second daily flight to San Francisco, will use Sony devices

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) has announced a second daily London (Heathrow) – San Francisco flight starting on October 25.

Flights VS 41 LHR-SFO and VS 42 SFO-LHR will operate with the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

In other news, the airline has announced a trial with Sony Mobile Communications to test how new wearable technology can help improve the airline’s maintenance and engineering processes. The airline issued this statement:

Sony SmartWatch 3

Engineers working on Virgin Atlantic aircraft at the airport and in the hangar will be testing the use of Sony’s SmartEyeglass Developer Edition SED-E1, tablet, mobile phone and SmartWatch 3 (above) in an eight-week trial, starting next week. The trial will take place at London Heathrow and will test how the technology can be used for real time communication between the engineering team on the aircraft and in the engineering support areas.

Using Sony’s SmartWear alongside a smart phone or tablet will remove paper from some engineering processes and reduce the journey times between an aircraft and technical control. This will enable the engineers and technicians to remain on the aircraft during turnarounds – helping to save valuable time, as well as make a significant contribution to Virgin Atlantic’s targets to reduce paper waste.

Phil Maher, Director of Operations at Virgin Atlantic, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Sony to trial wearable technology within our engineering team.

During the trial, engineers will be able to receive notifications on their SmartWatch 3 devices about any changes to job allocations, or detail in the tasks. Managers will be able to get instant feedback that the engineer has read the notification and that the task is in hand.

Engineers will be able to use SmartEyeglass Developer Edition SED-E1 to take pictures or video of the tasks they are working on. This will be linked to an app running on a smartphone which will allow the engineers to efficiently complete and submit a form requesting further technical assistance. SmartEyeglass Developer Edition SED-E1 will also be used for real-time video streaming to allow office-based engineering staff to see a problem from the engineers’ point of view in order to provide more rapid technical assistance.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner G-VNEW (msn 40956) “Birthday Girl” gracefully climbs away from the London (Heathrow) base.

Virgin Atlantic aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

AG Slide Shows

 

Virgin Atlantic to bring the Boeing 787-9 to Los Angeles

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) will introduce the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the daily London (Heathrow) – Los Angeles route on April 30, 2015 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner G-VNEW (msn 40956) approaches the runway at the London Heathrow base.

Virgin Atlantic aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic announces three new Boeing 787-9 routes

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) will operate its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner daily to Dubai, Johannesburg and Shanghai (Pudong) from London (Heathrow) starting on October 25, 2015 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Ian Bowley/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 787-9 G-VNEW (msn 40956) “Birthday Girl” is pictured at East Midlands on a training flight.

Virgin Atlantic aircraft slide show:

 

Virgin Atlantic takes delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) and Boeing (Chicago and Seattle) celebrated the delivery of the airline’s first 787-9 Dreamliner yesterday (October 9). The airline is the first European airline to take delivery of the 787-9 and plans to operate the airplane initially on its London Heathrow to Boston route.

Virgin Atlantic’s first 787-9 touched down at London’s Gatwick Airport today (October 10) following a more than 7,400 kilometer (4,000 nautical mile) nonstop flight from Paine Field in Everett, Washington. The 787-9 registered as G-VNEW (msn 40956) (above), is named ‘Birthday Girl’ in reference to the UK carrier’s 30th anniversary and is the first of 16 787-9s Virgin Atlantic has ordered from Boeing.

The 787-9 complements and extends the 787 family. With the fuselage stretched by 20 feet (6 meters) over the 787-8, the 787-9 will fly up to 40 more passengers an additional 830 kilometers (450 nautical miles) with the same exceptional environmental performance – 20 percent less fuel use and 20 percent fewer emissions than the airplanes they replace.

The airplane leverages the visionary design of the 787-8, offering passenger-pleasing features such as large windows, large stow bins, modern LED lighting, higher humidity, a lower cabin altitude, cleaner air and a smoother ride.

Based out of London’s Gatwick and Heathrow Airports, as well as Manchester and Glasgow Airports, Virgin Atlantic Airways operates a fleet of approximately 40 airplanes. Along with its first 787-9, the British operator also has a Boeing fleet of 12 Boeing 747-400s operating on routes across North America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.

To date, nearly 60 customers from around the world have ordered more than 1,000 Dreamliners, approximately 40 percent of which are 787-9s.

Virgin Atlantic Anatomy of a 787

Above: Anatomy of a Boeing 787.

Virgin Atlantic logo (large-1)

Meet Hayley Burton, Virgin Atlantic’s 787 Program Manager (from the Virgin Atlantic blog):

In October, we’re welcoming ‘Birthday Girl’ – the new Boeing 787-9 aircraft that will lead our 16-strong Dreamliner fleet – which might just go down in history as the planes that revolutionized our business. And while we’re bursting with excitement about it, we’ve been working up to this moment for several years. Someone who has been helping keep the project running smoothly from the very beginning is Hayley Burton, a Program Planner and self-confessed airline geek.

Virgin Atlantic Haylet Burton #1

Hayley wasn’t always an airline geek though. In fact, she started as a Business/Data Analyst and joined Virgin Atlantic three and a half years ago, supporting projects in Engineering. “I’ve always been interested in many different things. Following my school education, I started my work life as a legal secretary and ended up forging a career within Information Management & Technology for the NHS. I then completed a HND in Computing & Software Development as formal qualification of my skills and knowledge within this area.”

Although Hayley didn’t forecast a career in aviation, when she saw the role within Virgin Atlantic, she couldn’t resist applying. “I saw the ad and my best friend, who works at Virgin Atlantic, said I’d really fit in here – so that was it really!” And even though she wasn’t a specialist or industry expert, her transferable skills and drive to tackle big challenges head-on, meant she saw the potential for her skills to contribute to our business, but also the chance to learn something new too.

The 787 program

“Moving onto the 787 program was a real opportunity for me to understand the other elements of the business and where and how they all worked together. When I was working in Engineering, that was the only area I learned about. Now, I’m fortunate enough to be able to look at lots of elements with multiple areas – from Flight Operations to Cabin Crew and Service Delivery. It’s really enabled me to see the airline as a whole.”

It’s true. As Program Planner, Hayley really does have a finger in almost every pie. “I oversee the entire project planning within the programme. I create a very high-level plan and track all of our business areas within it. So it’s really about understanding what people have to deliver and when, their required outcomes, identifying any potential risks and how they’re managed – including financials. I’m also part of the 787 comms team, so I’m regularly in touch with internal and external stakeholders, and I’m also a bit of a right-hand-man for my Program Manager. I liaise with my Boeing counter-part who I collaborate with on a regular basis in order to review the plans and share information on our progress.”

Virgin Atlantic Hayley Burton #2

Hayley says the moment Boeing toured the UK with the 787 and she got to see it upfront, was when she realized what a great project this was. “This fleet is so important to our business; it’s a real game-changer. Not only will the fuel efficiency save us money, but the aircraft are e-enabled, meaning they use state-of-the-art technology.”

“From a technology perspective we’ve installed and built a new IT infrastructure in order to process the waves of data that we’re going to receive from the aircraft and that’s really exciting. It’ll be used to work out how we fly, what routes we take, how we maintain the aircraft and how we can improve all those things”.

It’s been a challenging project but one that she says has been exciting and well-executed. “We’ve definitely rolled our sleeves up and thrown ourselves at this. Boeing has told us that we out-weigh other operators in being prepared for this aircraft. And as the arrival of the first aircraft draws ever closer, we’ve set up a countdown clock – you can feel the excitement. We have a fantastic programme team and everyone has really pulled together.”

Visiting Seattle

While she’s impressed with the team and how our areas work together, she’s says the highlight so far has been her visit to Boeing’s Everett hangar in Seattle – the world’s largest building by volume.

“We travelled around the hangar in golf carts and there were people just everywhere constructing these four airplanes on the 787 production line – they were literally being built before my eyes. It was just amazing. I really got to see something that people – even in the industry – don’t usually get to see.”

So apart from once-in-a-lifetime experiences, what’s the best part of working on this project? “Everything surprises me about this job. I’ve learned so much through my work on this program, it’s unbelievable. My knowledge about how the airline industry works is immense and I’m still trying to cram it into my brain!”

“My goal is to manage a major program like this in the future; the skills and experiences I’ve built upon by working at Virgin Atlantic makes me feel optimistic about my future career.”

Update: On October 23, 2014 the new type entered revenue service on the London (Heathrow)-Atlanta route. The airline issued this statement:

Virgin Atlantic’s first Boeing 787 aircraft, Birthday Girl took to the skies October 23, flying from London to Atlanta on a special celebration flight.

Guests on board include BRIT Award-winning 4-piece Rudimental and hit-makers Gorgon City (below). The two London based bands will perform the first ever gig to be live streamed from over the Atlantic Ocean to the world and a plane packed full of VIP guests and an exclusive audience of super fans who won spaces on the flight.

Virgin Atlantic Rudimental and Gordon City

Also on board is TV chef Lorraine Pascale. Best known for her hit TV series and recipe books, Lorraine has been working with the team at the airline to create signature dishes for Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class passengers along with a variety of children’s meals to be served throughout every cabin.

Dishes on-board will include Lorraine’s “Marvellous” mac’n’cheese with pancetta, Sweet & sour pork balls with sunshine rice and “Mum’s” chili con carne with calypso rice.

Lorraine’s new menu will be officially launched on services leaving the UK from 28th October but as a special one-off all guests on board the celebration flight to Atlanta will have the chance to experience her new dishes in every cabin.

To accompany Lorraine’s amazing food and making a special appearance on board for the first time is Virgin Atlantic’s new sparkling wine from English winery Hambledon Vineyard. Proudly grown and produced in Hampshire, Meon Hill Grand Reserve has been specifically selected to compliment the cabin pressure and humidity of the 787 cabin and has been found to stay bubbly for longer. The new sparkling wine will be launched on Birthday Girl and will be available exclusively on the 787 aircraft.

Birthday Girl will start her first commercial flight on October 28 to Boston and other Dreamliners will be deployed on other key London to US East Coast market initially, with subsequent services between Heathrow and Washington, Heathrow and Newark and Heathrow and New York JFK scheduled to start in the following five months.

Video of the live performance:

Top Copyright Photo: Daniel Gorun/AirlinersGallery.com. G-VNEW arrives back at Paine Field after a sunset test flight.

Virgin Atlantic: AG Slide Show

Video:

 

Virgin Atlantic’s first Boeing 787-9 makes its first flight

Virgin Atlantic Airways‘ (London) first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner registered as G-VNEW (msn 40956) and named “Birthday Girl” (above) yesterday (September 23) made its first flight at Paine Field near Everett, Washington.

Top Copyright Photo: Bernie Leighton/AirlinersGallery.com. G-VNEW is pictured at Paine Field preparing for its first flight.

Virgin Atlantic: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Daniel Gorun. G-VNEW arrives back at Paine Field after the historic first flight.

Virgin Australia 787-9 G-VNEW (10)(Ldg) PAE (DGR)(LRW)

Video: The building of the first Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9: