Virgin Galactic Sees New Ticket Sales After Branson’s Space Trip
(Bloomberg) -- Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. will resume ticket sales next year following the first flight carrying founder Richard Branson to space, a milestone intended to signal the beginning of the company’s tourism trips.
The billionaire’s journey is likely to occur late in the first quarter of 2021, Chief Executive Officer Michael Colglazier said Thursday after Virgin Galactic reported earnings. The company already has a roster of 600 ticket holders who have paid as much as $250,000 each. It suspended sales after a 2014 crash killed a test pilot.
Branson’s voyage had been planned for this year but was postponed because of work delays tied to the coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19 “has led to accumulated impacts to both schedule and cost efficiency” that will continue into next year, Virgin Galactic said.
“Building spaceships during a pandemic is materially less efficient than normal,” Colglazier said on a conference call with analysts.
Virgin Galactic shares climbed 3% to $19.75 after the close of regular trading in New York. The shares have gained 66% this year.
The company is planning the next test flight to space of its VSS Unity craft within a four-day window starting Nov. 19. That will mark the vehicle’s first trip to space from Virgin Galactic’s Spaceport America launch site in New Mexico after earlier flights that began in California.
A second spaceship, which is under construction in California, will debut in the first quarter of 2021.
Virgin Galactic’s adjusted loss widened to 34 cents a share in the third quarter, worse than the average shortfall of 27 cents expected by analysts. The company reported no sales.
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