SINGAPORE: Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd , the country´s second-biggest airline, on Thursday reported a smaller-than-expected annual loss and said its outlook had brightened with a surge in business confidence driving up corporate traffic.
In positive signs not only for Virgin but also larger rival Qantas Airways Ltd, Virgin CEO John Borghetti said the corporate market had improved in the fourth quarter ended June and the momentum was continuing in the current quarter. A measure of Australian business conditions hit its highest since early 2008 in July as sales and profits stayed strong, while firms turned more confident the purple patch would last for some time yet. "Business travel seems to have picked up more than leisure travel," Borghetti told reporters. He said yields, a measure of ticket prices, were improving as a result. Business travel tends to be more lucrative than leisure travel because of the higher ticket prices typically charged for bookings made closer to the flight date. Virgin reported an underlying annual loss before tax of A$3.7 million ($2.92 million), versus an average forecast for a A$22 million loss from five analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.