[photopress:virgin2.jpg,full,alignright]Virgin Atlantic’s London-Shanghai flight looks as though it may finally make a profit. In the first quarter of this financial year it eased into the black. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ridgway said it was the first profitable result for the route.
He said, ‘We were nearly profitable, then it went backwards, due to September 11, and now it’s coming back again.’
Growth in business from all customer groups – tourists, students and business travelers – is driving the change. Virgin has experienced double-digit growth in passenger volume and revenue every year since the flight’s inception in 1999.
Analysts and industry players say Virgin is not the only airline that has lost money on flights between Shanghai and London. Indeed, it is probable that all three airlines competing on the route are booking annual losses.
Ma Ying, an aviation analyst at Haitong securities, said, ‘Flights to Europe have a lower passenger traffic than those going to the United States. Airlines are willing to soldier on despite losses because they are upbeat about the market’s long-term prospects.’
Virgin Atlantic became the first airline to fly the London-Shanghai route in 1999. It was joined by China Eastern in 2004 and British Airways in 2005.
Source: Shanghai Daily
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