Established by Sir Richard Branson in 1984, Crawley-based Virgin Atlantic now carries more than 5m passengers to 34 long-haul destinations. These include new routes to Cancun and Vancouver and a daily service to Mumbai that will resume in October. This year also saw the deployment of the new Airbus A330, part of a roll-out of 10 new aircraft at a cost of £1.4 billion. Virgin Group sold a 49% stake to Singapore Airlines in 2000. With the weak economy, trading conditions have been tough, but the group managed to boost sales 13% to £2.7 billion in 2011 and returned to profitability.

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Company details
Year2012
Rank12
CompanyVirgin Atlantic
ActivityAirline and tour operator
LocationCrawley
Sales £m2,658
Profit £m106
Year endFeb 11
Principal shareholdersVirgin Group (51%), Singapore Airlines (49%)
Staff8,631
Founded1984
Websitewww.virginatlantic.com

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* Supplied by company † Annualised figure