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Virgin America turns profitable in 2013

Virgin America's "san francisco pride" aircraft in San Diego.
Virgin America's "san francisco pride" aircraft in San Diego.
Philip Mo/

Virgin America announced Wednesday that it achieved its first annual profit in 2013.

The San-Francisco based airline reported that it posted a net income of $10.1 million last year, marking the first full year of profitability since it began flying in 2007. Virgin America lost $145.4 million in 2012.

"2013 was a year of tremendous progress for Virgin America," said Virgin America’s President and CEO David Cush in a statement. "We continued to reach more customers in more markets and now have a network presence from San Francisco and Los Angeles to most of the primary business centers in the U.S.”

Virgin America’s total operating revenue jumped 6.9 percent to $1.425 billion, while its total operating expenses increased by just 1.5 percent to $1.344 billion. Revenue per available seat mile increased 9.3 percent to 11.64 cents. Cost per available seat mile increased 0.5 percent to 10.96 cents. The airline reduced capacity by 2.2 percent.

“Staying focused on creating a significantly better travel experience for customers and capitalizing on our strong route network helped us achieve 9.3 percent unit revenue growth,” said Cush. “Revenue per available seat mile is a critical measure of success, and our impressive performance in this area, coupled with our efficient cost structure and improvements to our capital structure, led to three consecutive profitable quarters and our first full year of net income."

Virgin America achieved a load factor of 80 percent. Average fare for the award-winning airline increased 4.3 percent to $203.70.

Other key accomplishments for Virgin America in 2013:

  • Inaugurated service between Newark and Los Angeles/San Francisco.
  • Added new flights from Las Vegas to Los Angeles.
  • Launched new flights from San Francisco to Austin.
  • Launched a frequent flyer partnership with Emirates.
  • Implemented a frequent flyer and codeshare partnership with Singapore Airlines.

Virgin America currently operates a fleet of 53 Airbus A320-family aircraft, with 40 more on order. The delivery of the first five is scheduled to take place in the second half of 2015.

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