Virgin Galactic rakes in nearly $2 million in revenue from space tourism

Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. shares rallied about 15% in the after-hours session Wednesday after the space-tourism company narrowed its quarterly loss and more than doubled its revenue.

The company also forecast higher-than-expected revenue for the current quarter, although it acknowledged that the guidance is “subject to substantial uncertainty.”

“With six spaceflights successfully completed in under six months, Virgin Galactic has demonstrated the repeatability of our spaceflight system and also showcased the overwhelmingly positive experience of our astronauts,” Chief Executive Michael Colglazier said in a statement.

In a call with investors after the results, Virgin Galactic

detailed its plans for the next year and said that some of its space-tourism spots are going for about $1 million.

The Galactic 6 spaceflight is expected for January, and after that the company will move to a quarterly, rather than monthly, cadence of its Unity spaceflights to focus on the newer Delta flights and on developing the Delta spacecraft, Colglazier told investors.

Virgin plans to pause Unity flights in mid-2024, to focus on the newer-class spaceship, it said. Flights are expected to resume in mid-2025, with a Delta flight test, he said.

Revenue from Galactic 6 and Galactic 7 flights will be around $2 million to $2.5 million, which is about four times more than the revenue per flight realized in the third quarter, Colglazier said.

That’s in part because when seats are available, Virgin is making those interested pay a premium, he said. The seats have been priced “closer to $1 million, versus the $450,000 for earlier seats, he said.

Earlier Wednesday, Virgin Galactic said it lost $105 million, or 28 cents a share, in the third quarter, compared with a loss of $146 million, or 55 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.

The improvement was mostly due to lower operating expenses and an increase in interest income, the company said.

Revenue rose to $1.73 million, compared with $767,000 in the third quarter of 2022, thanks to commercial spaceflights and membership fees paid by future space tourists and astronauts, it said.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected a loss of 42 cents a share on sales of $1.1 million in the quarter.

The company called for fourth-quarter revenue of around $3 million, which would be double the FactSet consensus of about $1.5 million.

Virgin Galactic said its cash position “remains strong,” with cash and equivalents of $1.1 billion as of Sept. 30.

The production schedule for the new Delta Class spaceship remains on track for revenue service in 2026, it said. Virgin Galactic late Tuesday said it was laying off people to focus on the Delta spacecraft.

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