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LONDON: The privately-held Virgin Atlantic (VAL) Group, now 49 percent owned by Delta Air Lines, has reported an overall loss of £51 million for 2013 and a £7 million profit for its old financial year between March and December last year.

The loss is a reduction of 50 percent on its previous 12-month results and the airline says it expects to be profitable by the end of 2014. Overall revenue rose 4.9 percent although cargo declined 3.4 percent. Nevertheless the business contributed £225.3 million to the group – "exceeding expectations due to a weak cargo market."

The airline said Asia Pacific produced a 12 percent increase in tonnage and a three percent rise in revenues JOHN LLOYD Virgin Atlantic Cargoduring the year. Tonnage on its Americas network was five percent higher and the Europe, Middle East and Africa region grew three percent.

John Lloyd, (right) director of VAL Cargo said: "Our 2013 results show that we outperformed the market for a second consecutive year and increased our share by five percent at a time when many of our major competitors' businesses were in decline. The excessive amount of cargo capacity that started to return to the market in 2013 continued the downward pressure on yields but we have clearly been more successful in managing this challenge than many other carriers."

Virgin Atlantic CEO Craig Kreeger commented: "Our strategy has been to focus on network, alliances and managing our cost base in a way which has not impacted on the customer. For example, use of a new fuel management system delivered savings of £8m in a single year. We have also increased our revenues and passenger numbers, which is the result of both a committed workforce providing exceptional customer service and a loyal customer base with high advocacy. We're thrilled with the response we're seeing from our customers."

The airline said it expects the partnership with Delta Air Lines to deliver significant customer and commercial benefits that will allow both airlines to compete more effectively on the North Atlantic as VAL celebrates 30 years of operations.

With the first of 16 Boeing 787-9 'Dreamliners' arriving in the Autumn to replace B747 aircraft, Kreeger said he was confident that the resultant fuel efficiencies combined with the Delta relationship would return the company to profit: "We are building a sustainable and profitable airline for the future and it is an exciting time for our company."



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