Thursday, August 27, 2009

Virgin America Sees Uptick in Wi-Fi Use

{Update: Fixed mistyped word, "decreases" instead of "increases."]

Announcing improved second-quarter earnings today, Virgin America said that the "take rates" for its in-flight Wi-Fi service "continue to climb, with some flights and routes reporting up to 20-25 percent" of passengers paying to use the connection.

Virgin America was the first airline to have Wi-Fi installed throughout its fleet, and is the only domestic airline that has power outlets near every seat throughout its fleet. One of the road-blocks in the expansion of in-flight Wi-Fi in general has been the limitations of power supply, with most users on other airlines limited to only the amount of battery time they have.

Virgin America uses the industry-leading Aircell Gogo Wi-Fi system.

In contrast to major domestic carriers, all of whom are reeling from sharp decreases in revenue even as load factors climb on reduced capacity, Virgin said its revenue for the quarter rose 46.9 percent. The load factor -- the percentage of available seats occupied by paying customers -- rose sharply to 85.3 percent (up 7.7 points over the 2nd quarter of 2008)

Virgin reported a loss of $11.4 million for the quarter, an improvement over last year's 2nd quarter, when the loss was $62.1 million.

In the 2nd quarter, Virgin started new service to Orange County and added additional flights to its popular Boston to San Francisco route.

It's interesting that Virgin is even announcing its earnings for the quarter, because it is a privately held company with no obligation to do so. Apparently, the investors are happy with the results.

Virgin, which began operating in August 2007, flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Boston, Orange County and as of Nov. 18, 2009, Fort Lauderdale.


No comments: