Virgin Atlantic slips into red for financial 2017 | News

Virgin Atlantic has revealed a £48.5 million after-tax loss for 2017, compared with a £187 million profit for the previous year.

The UK-based long-haul carrier blamed currency weakness, engine problems on some of its aircraft, and weather-induced service disruptions for the change in fortunes.

Sales at the carrier fell 1.1 per cent, to £2.66 billion.

Virgin Atlantic – founded by Richard Branson and 49 per cent-owned by Delta Air Lines – carried 5.3 million passengers last year, 100,000 fewer than in 2016.

The airline said its results were hurt by continued weakness in the British currency against the dollar and hurricanes that disrupted travel to the United States and Caribbean.

Virgin Atlantic last month dropped a commitment to buy six Airbus A380 superjumbos.

The carrier had previously signalled that it is no longer interested in the plane that seats more than 500 passengers as it focused on smaller long-haul planes.

The airline in 2016 agreed to buy A350 twin-engine widebodies from Airbus in addition to the Boeing 787 Dreamliners it already uses.

The final Dreamliners ordered are due for delivery this year, with the A350 handovers to commence in 2019.

The carrier had to ground some of its Boeing 787 Dreamliners last year because of problems with their Rolls-Royce Holdings engines.

Virgin Atlantic chief executive Craig Kreeger said some of last year’s challenges “will remain prevalent in 2018”.

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