Virgin America operating profit slides 23% in Q3

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Washington DC
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Virgin America has posted a 22.8% fall in operating profit to $16.2 million for its third quarter, as fuel prices cut into its bottom line.

The carrier recorded a net loss of $3.3 million for the three months ended 30 September, compared to a net profit of $7.48 million in the corresponding quarter a year ago.

Operating revenues rose 43.8% to $291 million year-on-year, while operating expenses increased 51.5% to $274 million.

Virgin America's revenue per available seat mile (RASM) rose 8.8% to 11.28 cents, while its cost per available seat mile (CASM) grew 14.6% to 10.65 cents.

Passenger traffic rose 32.2%, while capacity was up 32.2%. The load factor declined 0.1 percentage point to 84.2%.

"Although higher oil costs weighed on our overall financial performance for the quarter, as a young airline still fueling growth, we're pleased to see continued strong revenue performance and to have achieved an operating profit for the quarter," said the airline's president and CEO David Cush.

Virgin America also announced it has raised an additional $150 million in a new four-and-half-year debt facility. It has also obtained lease financing for 13 Airbus A320 family aircraft for delivery between October 2011 and September 2013. The carrier has closed on a financing facility for most of its pre-delivery obligations due on the first 20 aircraft from its order of 60 Airbus A320s, which will be delivered starting from the summer of 2013. The airline announced the 60-aircraft order, including 30 A320neos, in January.