Virgin Blue Half-Year Earnings Press Conference

After an hour the Virgin Blue half-year earnings press conference is still going on, but here are some highlights:

Financial results

  • Virgin Blue posts A$62.5m profit after tax for the six months to December 2009 compared with a $101.4m loss in the same period a year earlier. Virgin Blue’s half-year profit was $4.5m more than that of formidable Qantas.
  • Virgin Blue attributed the sharp turn around to a decrease in fuel cost as well as cost containment (such as operating more services with the same number of staff)

  • V Australia contributed a $39m loss
  • Profit before tax for the short haul business was $108 million, up 126% against the prior period

Developments

  • Virgin Blue is still in discussion with Boeing to order upwards of 50 737s to be delivered in the short-term. The aircraft will feature Boeing’s new Sky Interior and will be outfitted with Boeing’s fuel saving improvements.
  • All aircraft from May onwards will have premium economy
  • V Australia gave A$200m worth of traffic to Virgin Blue (that’s passengers who travel across the Pacific on V Aus and then transfer to a Virgin Blue domestic flight)
  • V Aus is still expected to reach break-even within 18 months of launching ops, i.e. August this year
  • Virgin Blue will develop a Blackberry application to allow passengers to book and modify tickets as well as check-in with their Blackberry

  • Brett Godfrey affirmed my December article that Virgin Blue is looking to order the -900 variant as part of its 737 order. The -900′s increased capacity would be a boon for slot-restricted Sydney, he said, adding the -900 has a 2-3% lower operating cost per seat.
  • Godfrey said he expected this earnings report to be his last, indicating he still expects his successor to start by August

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