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Company Watch - Virgin Group.

For more company news, data and analysis, please go to: http://www.airguideonline.com/professional.htm Aug 28, 2006

Virgin America responded with a DOT filing last week that reiterated it is 75% owned by US investors and managed by US citizens such as CEO Fred Reid, former president of Delta, who said he was confident the airline would meet with DOT approval. Continental pointed to the "shadow of foreign influence" in its DOT filing. Virgin said the objections are "not based on reality or fact, but are simply an attempt to preserve the status quo, delay competition, and inject irrelevant issues into the proceeding." The legal fight could delay Virgin America's launch for months as DOT considers the objections. It filed its initial application in December, 2005 and already has leased 34 A320s. It emphasized that stalled efforts to change US ownership and control rules should not affect its application, which it says complies fully with existing US laws. Aug 21, 2006

Virgin America, the proposed LCC startup that is 25% owned by Virgin Group, is being held up by objections over its US citizenship from legacy carriers urging the US Dept. of Transportation to reject its application for an operating certificate. Virgin America said last week that it has been forced to secure an additional $53 million in temporary financing to fight what it calls "dilatory legal tactics" by Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and US Airways, who argue that the upstart is effectively controlled by Virgin Group and therefore violates US rules limiting foreign control of US airlines. Aug 21, 2006

Virgin Blue announces profit increase, revamped fiscal calendar. Australia-based Virgin Blue announced a 12% lift in net profit to A$84.5 million ($64.4 million) for the nine-month fiscal year ended June 30 despite a 35% surge in fuel costs.The carrier changed its year-end accounting period to June 30 from Sept. 30 after Toll Holdings, Australia's largest transport group, acquired the airline's majority owner, Patrick Corp. Virgin Blue's revenue rose 8.5% to A$1.39 billion as RPKs climbed 6.1% to 12.09 billion against a 3.9% increase in ASKs to 15.7 billion. It carried 10.4 million passengers, up 7.5% on the previous year. Aug 24, 2006

Virgin Blue CEO Brett Godfrey attributed the result partly to a focus on the corporate market and suggested the best is yet to come. "It takes time for the full impact of these new initiatives to be felt. So far it has been trickling through," he said. Virgin Blue's yield up 2.6% and load factor ahead 1.9 points to 77.9%. Unit revenues rose 3.4% to A8.02 cents while CASK excluding fuel fell 3.4% to just A5.92 cents. The result was impacted by the 35% hike in fuel costs to A$70 million and A$7 million in one-off costs associated with the setup of the Velocity frequent-flier program. Virgin Blue also introduced Web check-in and lounges and restructured its schedules to focus on frequency during peak business periods. Aug 24, 2006
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Publication:Airguide Online
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 28, 2006
Words:519
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