Virgin America Reports Third Quarter Financial Results

Start-up Airline Reports First Operating Profit and Significant Year-Over-Year Revenue Growth

San Francisco – December 11, 2009 – Virgin America, the award-winning start-up airline, today reported its financial results for the third quarter of 2009.  Against significant industry revenue declines, the new airline reported its first quarterly operating profit, a year-over-year revenue increase of 38.3 percent, record load factors and improved unit costs.

“Despite an uncertain economic climate since our 2007 launch, we’re pleased to report steady and strong financial performance and our first quarterly operating profit,” said Virgin America President and CEO David Cush.  “At a time when flyers are more discerning than ever, it is clear that our low fares, award-winning guest service and innovative amenities continue to convert a growing network of loyal travelers.  We look forward to bringing our unique value proposition to more travelers as we grow in 2010 and beyond. ?? 

Third Quarter Reporting Highlights:

  • Operating results:  The airline reported a $5.1 million operating income on revenues of $157.9 million, an operating income improvement of $59 million over the third quarter of 2008. 
  • Record load factors:  The airline reported an 86.6 percent load factor in the third quarter of 2009 – a 5.2 point improvement over the third quarter of 2008, despite a 36.5 percent increase in scheduled service capacity.  Traffic increased by 45 percent year-over-year.   The airline reported an 87.5 percent load factor for July; 87.7 percent load factor for August; and an 84.5 percent load factor in September. (September loads were the industry’s second highest, with only Allegiant reporting higher loads).
  • Significant top line progress:  Revenue in the third quarter of 2009 was up by 38.3 percent versus the third quarter of 2008. Virgin America’s stage-length adjusted guest unit revenue was up 5.4 percent versus the third quarter of 2008.
  • Exceptional cost control:  Unit costs (CASM) dropped by 33.9 percent while ex-fuel CASM dropped by 24.4 percent, as the airline was able to increase capacity at a very low marginal cost.
  • Cash:  The airline ended the third quarter of 2009 with $23.2 million in unrestricted cash and $57.6 million in total liquidity.







Percent change

Revenues (000)




Operating Expenses (000)




Operating Income (Loss) (000)




Net Income (Loss)




Total ASMs (000)




Load Factor



      5.2 pts

Operating Margin %



    50.7 pts

Total RASM




Operating CASM




Ex-Fuel CASM




Average Stage Length




In the third quarter, Virgin America continued its year-over-year sweep of the major reader-based travel industry best-in-class awards, with wins for "Best Domestic Airline" in Travel + Leisure's 2009 World's Best Awards and “Best Business/First Class” among domestic airlines in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2009 Business Travel Poll.   The San Francisco-based Virgin America employs over 1,500 teammates and is one of the few airlines creating jobs in the current economic climate.  Virgin America’s low fare, award-winning service has injected healthy competition into new markets, including South Florida.  Service to Fort Lauderdale, the tenth destination in the airline’s growing network, was announced in the third quarter.  Largely as a result of Virgin America’s launch, San Francisco International Airport (the airline’s principal base of operations) has become one of the nation’s only expanding airports.  

Operationally, Virgin America continued to excel in the third quarter, achieving an impressive 87.2% percent A-14 on-time performance.   The carrier’s mishandled baggage rate was also industry-leading in the third quarter, with an average of 1.18 baggage reports per 1000 guests, versus the industry average of 3.72 baggage reports per 1000 guests.

Although a privately held company, the airline is announcing these earnings results in advance of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) quarterly reports.

Virgin America flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Boston, Orange County and Fort Lauderdale.  The airline currently offers daily flights from: SFO to LAX, SFO to JFK, SFO to SAN, SFO to IAD, SFO to LAS, LAX to JFK, LAX to IAD, SFO to SEA, SEA to LAX, JFK to LAS, BOS to LAX, BOS to SFO, SFO to SNA, LAX to FLL and SFO to FLL.  Virgin America has flown over 5.8 million guests since its inaugural flights in August 2007 and now counts over 1.1 million Elevate loyalty program members.

#  #   #

Media Contact:  Abby Lunardini (650) 533-7576 /
EDITORS NOTE:  Virgin America is a U.S.-controlled, owned and operated airline.  It is an entirely separate company from Virgin Atlantic.  Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group is a minority share investor in Virgin America.
About Virgin America:  Headquartered in California and launched in August 2007, Virgin America is one of the fastest growing start-up U.S. airlines of all time and currently employs over 1500 people.  Virgin America offers guests attractive fares and a host of innovative features aimed at reinventing air travel.  The airline’s base of operations is San Francisco International Airport’s modern International Terminal.  The airline's new aircraft offer interactive in-flight entertainment systems and power outlets near every seat for electronic gear.  Virgin America offers in-flight internet service on every flight and hosts the largest in-flight entertainment library in the U.S. skies via its touch-screen Red™ seatback system.  In just two years flying, the airline was named "Best Domestic Airline” in the Condé Nast Traveler 2008 and 2009 Readers' Choice Awards and in Travel + Leisure’s 2008 and 2009 World's Best Awards.  Elevate is Virgin America’s first-of-its-kind loyalty program, which offers guests the ability to redeem points for any unsold seat – on any Virgin America flight, at any time.  Elevate offers Web-based redemption with no black-out dates.  For more please visit:

<< Back To Press Release
Our Frequent Flyer Program
What's Elevate? Earn Points
Our Blog Our Airline Partners © Virgin America