Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic is responding to tough competition in the aviation industry by investing in new aircraft and routes – it has recently started flights to Chicago and Nairobi, and has ordered 15 new Boeing jets. It is also pioneering green initiatives such as “tactical towing” so that aircraft do not need to run their engines so much while they are on the ground. The Crawley-based company, owned by Virgin Investments and Singapore airlines, is run by chief executive Steve Ridgeway. It reported sales of £1,912m in 2006.

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Company details
CompanyVirgin Atlantic
ActivityAirline and tour operator
Sales £m1,912
Profit £m34
Year endFeb 06
Principal shareholdersVirgin Investments (51%) and Singapore Airlines (49%)

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* Supplied by company † Annualised figure