Thursday 23 September 2021

Virgin Galactic flights on sale for $600,000

It’s the hottest ticket money can buy – well, a lot of money. 
Flights to space with Virgin Galactic have finally opened up to sales again.

Keen stargazers – wealthy, keen stargazers – will be able to snap up $614,000 tickets on future Virgin Galactic space flights, after the company resumed selling tickets following a six-year hiatus. Shares of Virgin Galactic rose almost 6 per cent higher on Friday after the ticket sale announcement, ending the trading day at $US33.37 ($A45.42).

Sales will initially open to “early hand-raisers” who have already expressed interest in paying for a flight, the company said, and another list will then be created for new reservations. The company said it will sell single seats, package deals and a “full-flight buyout”. It’s unclear precisely how each tier will be priced, but the starting price is $US450,000, or $A614,000.

Virgin Galactic ticket sales have been closed since the fatal 2014 crash of a test flight.

But a huge number of people are already on the waiting list for their own trip to space, including Melbourne man Scott Copeland, who scored his ticket through a Virgin Australia competition in 2014. The company’s billionaire founder Sir Richard Branson promised to fly to space himself before opening up commercial operations, and last month, he made the trip.

Branson’s flight marked the first time a billionaire space pioneer rode to the atmosphere on his own company’s rocket, stealing the thunder from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos who rode to space just a week later. “Leveraging the surge in consumer interest following the Unity 22 flight, we are excited to announce the reopening of sales effective today, beginning with our Spacefarer community,” Virgin Galactic chief executive officer Michael Colglazier said on Thursday evening in a statement.

“As we endeavour to bring the wonder of space to a broad global population, we are delighted to open the door to an entirely new industry and consumer experience,” he added.

Virgin Galactic announced the resumption of ticket sales alongside its second-quarter earnings, which showed it posted an adjusted EBITDA loss of $US56 million, slightly wider than the $US55.9 million loss in the prior quarter. The company reported revenue of $571,000 for the quarter, enough to cover a seat on one of its future spaceflights.

Its revenue largely came from scientific research experiments, the company said.

The company added that it’s targeting late September for its next test flight, which will carry members of the Italian air force and is expected to generate revenue. Upon the completion of that flight, the company expects to undergo an “enhancement period” before launching a final test flight. After that, Virgin Galactic will begin passenger flights. Mr Colglazier said on a conference call with investors that the enhancement period will likely run into mid-2022, pushing back the start of passenger operations to the second half of next year.

Story sourced from here
Virgin Galactic flights on sale for $600k | — Australia’s leading news site

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