Environmental activists have turned their sights on the pollution created by the aviation industry in recent years, but Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic says it is moving with the times. This year it became the first airline to power a test flight partially with biofuel, sending a Boeing 747 from London to Amsterdam using babassu and coconut oils to supplement traditional jet fuel. The company is headquartered in Crawley, Sussex, and is jointly owned by Virgin Group and Singapore Airlines. Sales rose to £2,225m in 2007 under the continued leadership of chief executive Steve Ridgway.

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Company details
Year2008
Rank10
CompanyVirgin Atlantic
ActivityAirline and tour operator
LocationCrawley
Sales £m2,225
Profit £m65
Year endFeb 07
Principal shareholdersVirgin Investments (51%) and Singapore Airlines (49%)
Staff9,877
Founded1984
Websitewww.virginatlantic.com

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* Supplied by company † Annualised figure