Sir Richard Branson's airline Virgin Atlantic has announced markedly increased half-year profits.
The airline made a pre-tax profit of £72 million for the period March to August 2008 compared with a £43 million pre-tax profit for the same period last year.
Together with its tour operator arm Virgin Holidays, the carrier saw revenues increase by 15% to £1.37 billion. Cash in the bank increased from £599 million to £810 million.
Virgin carried three million passengers in March to August 2008 - 3% up on the same period last year.
Speaking in Washington DC, Virgin Atlantic chief executive Steve Ridgway said the airline had cushioned itself well against any economic downturn. He renewed his airline's attack on the proposed British Airways-American Airlines (BA-AA) link-up to which Virgin is utterly opposed.
Mr Ridgway said: "BA/AA isn't just another alliance. It is an attempt to stitch up the most important long-haul routes from Europe's most important airport - Heathrow.
"BA and AA want to roll back the successes of deregulation and liberalisation in international aviation. In the case of BA, the lack of anti-trust immunity didn't stop them achieving a 10% operating margin last year. BA and AA want to have their cake and eat it, at consumers' expense."
Mr Ridgway said the link-up, if approved, would mean BA/AA would control 63% of the capacity between JFK airport in New York and Heathrow, 66% between Chicago and Heathrow, 79% between Boston and Heathrow, 75% between Miami and Heathrow and 100% between Dallas Fort Worth and Heathrow.
He went on: "As we've seen with the BAA ownership of London airports, protected monopolies don't invest but simply raise prices as service levels decline.
"It's not very surprising. After all, monopolies don't need to invest to stay ahead of the competition - by definition, there is no competition."