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Virgin Australia back in the black


Virgin Australia has returned to profitability due to its growth in the corporate travel sector.

Virgin announced on Tuesday it had made a net profit of $22.8 million in the year to June 30, up from a loss of $67.8 million in the previous 12 months.

"Our progress in attracting higher yielding corporate and government customers has been a key driver of our improved profitability," chief executive John Borghetti said in a statement.

"This segment now makes up 20 per cent of our domestic revenue and, encouragingly, over the last three months we have averaged above this level."

He said the uncertain economic environment meant the company could not provide financial guidance for the 2012/13 financial year.

Virgin Australia said its partnerships with international airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand and Delta Air Lines had resulted in interline and codeshare revenue more than doubling in 2011/12.

Mr Borghetti said Virgin hoped to add an extra $150 million per year in interline and codeshare revenue by 2014/15.

No dividend was declared.

"In light of the continuing uncertain economic environment and the need to support our current and future strategic initiatives, we will not declare a dividend," Mr Borghetti said.

Virgin said it expected to grow domestic capacity by eight to nine per cent during the first half of 2012/13.

This compared with 9.6 per cent growth across Virgin's domestic network in 2011/12, when it replaced smaller Boeing 737 aircraft with wide-bodied Airbus A330s on some flights between Perth and Australia's east coast and increased frequencies on some key corporate routes.

Virgin will also start a three-year business efficiency project aimed at delivering about $400 million in productivity gains.

"This project will be structured to ensure we have a sustainable cost advantage in the future," Mr Borghetti said.