Virgin defends performance of Little Red

Carrier’s load factor is 37.6%, aviation regulator says

Virgin Atlantic has defended the performance of Little Red, its new all-economy UK domestic service, after statistics showed it was flying aircraft that were less than 40% full.

Figures from the aviation regulator CAA show that the carrier’s load factor – measuring the utilisation of seats – was 37.6%, according to media reports. Rivals British Airways and easyJet have load factors of 72.4% and 77.8%, respectively.

As previously reported, Little Red branded flights began on 31 March 2013 with services from London to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester. Virgin Atlantic says it is “pleased” with the progress of Little Red, adding that the service offers “a compelling alternative for domestic flights”.

“We expected it to take some time for our customers to be fully aware of the service and we planned for comparatively low initial load factors,” it said in a statement. “Now Little Red is gaining momentum rapidly. Since the start of 2014 it has been gaining market share, beating its revenue and load factor budgets and generating great customer feedback. Our load factor so far in 2014 is already considerably higher than the 2013 average. We expect this momentum to continue as we move into the summer travel season with healthy forward bookings.”

TTG Digital

[pictured: Virgin Money Lounge, Manchester; photo courtesy]