Virgin Australia says pre-tax profits rose during the first quarter despite higher fuel costs, but stopped short of providing specifics.
The airline said it could not provide clear profit guidance because of the uncertain global economic environment but continued “to expect an improvement in underlying performance over the last financial year.”
Virgin Australia reported an after-tax loss of $67.8 million in 2010/11.
The comments released Wednesday were part of a presentation to shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting in Brisbane, and come as Virgin moves to expand its offerings as a full-service airline by targeting corporate customers in particular.
CEO John Borghetti told shareholders the airline was “building significant momentum” and had “laid the foundations for future growth.” But executives also acknowledged that high fuel costs and persistent financial woes in Europe and North America made for a challenging business environment that was not likely to resolve in the near future.
Separately, Virgin said it was changing its reservation and booking platform to Sabre in a bid to better integrate ticketing with alliance partners and improve customer recognition. The migration to Sabre is expected to be complete by March 2013, Virgin said.
A computer glitch led to the collapse of then-Virgin Blue’s booking system in September 2010, throwing the airline into 11 days of turmoil and costing it an estimated $20 million. Virgin and IT company Navitair reached an undisclosed settlement over the problem earlier this year.
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