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Virgin Atlantic announces a loss for 2018

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Virgin Atlantic announced a £26m loss for 2018 yesterday, following a £49m loss in 2017.

Underlying numbers were more promising, with revenue rising by 5.8% to £2.78bn, passenger numbers growing by just under 5% to 5.4 million and revenue per customer rising by 1.7%.

The two core issues were the weakness of Sterling, given that jet fuel is priced in US$, and the continuing problems with the Boeing 787-9 fleet, much of which remains grounded due to problems with the Rolls-Royce engines.

Virgin Atlantic new A350 upper class

Whilst we didn’t cover it on HfP, Rolls-Royce faced a new round of engine issues last week when Singapore Airlines grounded two Boeing 787-10 aircraft due to signs of engine turbine blade cracking.  This implies that the issue is not unique to the Boeing 787-9 fleet.

Virgin Atlantic has warned that it does not expect to make financial progress in 2019 but that it should break even in 2020 and then return to profitability.  The new A350-1000 aircraft are substantially cheaper to fly than the older aircraft they replace.

Here is a link to the 2018 Annual Report if you want to find out more.

One interesting fact – over 100,000 people have signed up to the new Virgin Atlantic credit cards in the first 12 months and over £1bn has been spent.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (September 2023)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points if you apply by 2nd October. You receive 15,000 Virgin Points with your first purchase and a further 15,000 points if you spend £3,000 within 90 days. Apply here.

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 bonus points (SPECIAL OFFER TO 2ND OCTOBER) and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 Read our full review

You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points

(Want to earn more Virgin Points?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

Comments (96)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Alex D says:

    OT; Travelling to Bangkok in November for 5 nights – Where you people recommend i stay to see all the main attractions? I have Amex Plat so have gold status with all the main brands.

    • Memesweeper says:

      1st night – sleeper to Chiang Mai
      2 – 4th nights in Chiang Mai
      5th night sleeper back.

      Infinitely better than five nights in Bangkok

      • Benylin says:

        Agree. Chiang Mai is a shout but could just fly there with Air Asia if not keen on train.

        • Shoestring says:

          Yep I wouldn’t want to stay in Bangkok any longer than necessary, depends what you like of course & 5 nights doesn’t make for much possible in the way of island hopping/ sandy beaches/ scuba diving but you could still see what you want to see in Bangkok then leave for somewhere better, close. Koh Chang was pretty good, shortish bus ride away.

          If you’re stuffed with your 5 days, don’t want to travel more and can enjoy food, Bangkok and its immediate surrounds should be OK tbh, not that I would choose to do that. Research the places, where (say) you can go buy a bowl full of different seafoods & get them cooked for you on the spot, ie fishmonger cum restaurant, there are quite a few & very popular.

          As for Bangkok things to do, sights to see: nothing much to recommend, apart from the top 10 or 20 you’ll find readily online/ Lonely Planet. All a bit touristy for me but the food and people are superlative. The sleazy stuff is not for me.

        • Alex D says:

          I have to be in Bangkok for the duration but it is part of a 3 week trip in Thailand so i am sure i’ll get to see everything – It was more which hotel – Hilton vs Marriott as there seems to be able one million of each to choose from!

    • Leo says:

      I quite like Bangkok. A friend passing through with her kids just gave positive feedback on the Marriot Surawongse. The St Regis is ok and near the BST. I’ve usually stayed at the IC.

  • Nick says:

    The RR engine problems have never been limited to 789 aircraft, there have been plenty of 788s affected too. The same engine can be used on both aircraft. Hence why BJE (a 788) was parked up near the BA hangar for so long.

  • Prins Polo says:

    VA is Virgin Australia I believe.

  • Ben says:

    Anyone know the answer to this?

    I have a return ticket with JetAirways next week. Flying outbound with JetAirways and inbound with Etihad on a JetAirways codeshare ticket number.
    If/when JetAirways go bust, is my inbound flight safe as I’m on an Etihad flight..?

    Etihad customer care on Twitter confirmed that my flight was confirmed currently but refused to answer the above question. Been on hold to JetAirways for hours (well they hung up after an hour & I’ve been on hold for another hour since).


    • Shoestring says:

      Your contract is with the validating or issuing airline – ie I assume that would be JA from what you have said – so basically you’d be stuffed

    • Michael says:

      I’d just hope for the best if it was me.

  • Ben says:

    Ok thanks

  • Gulz says:

    I’m due to fly with Jet and of month Delhi to Amsterdam booked using Virgin miles. When I spoke to virgin over a month ago about Jet’s financial trouble and asked what will happen if the flight was cancelled or airline went bust, they said they’d reboook me with another airline. I still didn’t leave it to chance and booked a virgin redemption from Delhi to London for the day before. Worst case scenario I lose $50 towards cancellation of Virgin flight if my Jet flight flies fine.

    I just need to book a London to Amsterdam backup flight now.

    Also, what worries me is that if Jet flies, it’ll be a very horrible atmosphere. All staff including pilots haven’t been paid for months, and more recently Jet has stopped all IFE from all their flights.

    Interestingly I got an email today to say that the flight departure time has changed from 2.10am to 1.10am while the arrival time remains the same.

    I’m just hoping my flight gets cancelled and virgin rebook me on the KLM flight that departs the same day.

  • Catman99 says:

    OT my BA flight from BKK to LHR is delayed so my same ticket flight to AMS has been pushed back by a day. Do I still have to take that flight to receive EU261 compensation or can I just go home as I will have missed my meeting anyway?

  • Scallder says:

    That didn’t last long – all Jet Airways international flights cancelled!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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