07:34 GMT11 April 2021
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    Despite the profit challenges, the chief executive of the British aerospace firm told investors he was excited about bringing on new talent to the leadership team and new investments for the company.

    Virgin Galactic nosedived 93 percent to $238m, down from $3.7bn the year before, the company said in its fourth quarter reports.

    Year-on-year losses were $273m up from $211m in 2019, the report read, adding losses per share jumped 14 percent to $1.25. Q4 earnings saw no revenues and the company lost a net $74m, compared to $72m the same period in 2019.

    “We accomplished several significant milestones during 2020 despite the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking ahead, we’re focused on completing our test flight program, expanding our fleet of spaceships and motherships, and developing our unique and transformative customer experience," Virgin Galactic chief executive Michael Colglazier said in a statement.

    The news comes as the company announced it would delay spaceflight tests to May and postpone flying passengers to early 2022 due to electromagnetic interference (EMI) on its SpaceShipTwo 'Unity' vehicle.

    Two pilots will board the first of three test flights ahead of its passenger schedule target. Shares for the firm fell up to 15 percent following the announcement, CNBC revealed.

    But the firm expects to carry company founder Sir Richard Branson in the third flight "this summer" and follow with a four-month "analysis and refurbishment period" on the spacecraft along with its carrier aircraft Eve and future SpaceShip III.

    “At the conclusion of this period, we expect VSS Unity will begin flying private astronauts, and SpaceShip III will be in a position to complete its flight testing, which we expect to be in early ’22,” Colglazier said in a statement.

    The statement comes after Branson raised $500m after selling shares of the firm, namely to fund a $250m coronavirus relief package. Thousands of staff have been furloughed and executives have agreed to massive pay cuts.

    Related:

    Virgin Galactic to Go Public Soon, Plans to Launch Space Tourism Internationally
    Richard Branson to Sell $500 Million Worth of Virgin Galactic Shares to Save Company
    Photos: Virgin Galactic’s Unity Spacecraft Completes Final Test Before Adding Rocket Power
    Photos: Design for Mach 3 Supersonic Airliner Unveiled by Virgin Galactic
    Tags:
    manned spaceflights, commercial spaceflight, spaceflights, profits, corporate profits, Virgin Galactic
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