Virgin Galactic, the leading space tourism company, has announced a temporary pause in its spaceflight operations in 2024. The decision comes as the company shifts its focus towards the development of its next-generation Delta-class spacecraft.
Before the pause, Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spacecraft will continue to fly, albeit at a reduced rate. This announcement follows the company’s recent release of its third-quarter results which showed a net loss of $104.6 million, exceeding analysts’ expectations.
In a bid to achieve cost savings of $25 million annually, Virgin Galactic has decided to reduce its workforce by laying off 185 employees. This move is seen as a necessary step towards ensuring the company’s long-term sustainability and financial stability.
Despite the disappointing financial results, there is a silver lining for Virgin Galactic. The company reported an increase in revenue for the third quarter, with figures reaching $1.7 million, compared to $767,000 the previous year. This positive development has led to an 8% rise in the company’s stock during after-hours trading.
However, it should be noted that Virgin Galactic’s stock has experienced a significant decline of 55% year-to-date. This downturn reflects the challenges faced by the space tourism industry as it navigates through the ongoing pandemic and other unforeseen obstacles.
On a more optimistic note, Virgin Galactic announced that it ended the quarter with a healthy cash and securities balance of $1.1 billion. This financial cushion provides the company with the flexibility required to pursue its ambitious plans for the future.
Looking ahead, Virgin Galactic has set its sights on opening a new factory in Phoenix by mid-2024. This facility will be dedicated to the production of Delta-class spacecraft, which are expected to pave the way for the company’s next phase of space exploration.
CEO Michael Colglazier expressed confidence in Virgin Galactic’s ability to achieve positive cash flow and deliver the first two Delta ships by 2026. Despite the temporary pause in spaceflight operations, the company remains steadfast in its commitment to offering thrilling space experiences to its customers. As Virgin Galactic continues to innovate and evolve, the world eagerly anticipates the next chapter in the space tourism industry.