Virgin America narrows Q1 operating loss

Washington DC
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Virgin America has narrowed its first quarter operating loss to $13.1 million from $15 million in the same period in 2013.

The carrier grew first quarter operating revenues by 4% to $313 million, and operating expenses rose 3.2% to $327 million.

The airline's first quarter net loss narrowed to $22.4 million, down from a net loss of $46.4 million a year ago.

Virgin America cited adverse winter weather on the US east coast as a factor behind its losses.

"Given our network's focus on transcontinental flying to the East Coast and with 30 percent of our revenue generated by New York markets alone, we bore the brunt of this year's winter storms with a significant increase in cancellations," says Virgin America chief executive David Cush.

The airline, launched in 2007, reported its first full-year profit in 2013.

In the first quarter, passenger unit revenues fell 0.3% to 9.95 cents. Cost per available seat mile excluding fuel rose 2.4% to 7.59 cents.

Passenger traffic was up 5.6% in the quarter and capacity grew 3%. The carrier's load factor increased 1.9 percentage point to 79.2%.