Virgin Atlantic said tough economic conditions over the last year and lower demand for business travel caused by the London Olympics dragged it to a wider annual loss.
The airline, founded by British entrepreneur Richard Branson, on Thursday reported a loss of GBP£93 million (USD$141.6 million) for the year to the end of February, 16 percent worse than the GBP£80 million loss it reported a year earlier.
"Last year saw a double dip recession, a continued weak macro economy, and an Olympic Games which, although a fantastic event, severely dented demand for business travel," said chief executive Craig Kreeger, who joined Virgin earlier this year from American Airlines.
European carriers such as IAG's Iberia, Lufthansa and Air France-KLM are cutting jobs and shelving growth plans as they grapple with high fuel prices, a weak economy and fierce competition from low-cost airlines and Middle East carriers.
Kreeger said he was confident the airline's financial performance would improve "considerably" in 2013/14 and that it would return to profit in the second quarter of 2015.
Late last year US carrier Delta Air Lines bought a 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic, creating a joint venture that the pair said would generate new revenue and leverage Virgin's strong luxury brand.
Branson retained his 51 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic and ownership of the brand of the airline he founded in 1984.
Revenue increased by 5 percent to GBP£2.87 billion as 5.5 million passengers flew with the airline, 188,000 higher than last year.
At a group level, Virgin Atlantic's pre-tax loss was GBP£69.9 million after a one-off positive GBP£35.4 million exceptional item and GBP£23.1 million in other income was taken into account, it said.
Virgin Atlantic, which launched its Little Red domestic service last month, has suffered in recent years from high fuel costs and increased competition as well as the global economic downturn. It last reported an annual profit for the 2010/11 fiscal year.
Rival IAG, owner of British Airways and Iberia, last week reported an operating loss of EUR€278 million (USD$364 million) in the first three months of 2013. Source: Reuters
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