Billionaire Richard Branson's aerospace company Virgin Galactic announced on Thursday that it had a third delay in its plans to begin offering commercial space flights, sending shares of the aerospace giant tumbling.
While our short-term plans call for commercial service to launch in the second quarter of 2023, progress on our future fleet continues and many of the key elements of our roadmap are now in place to scale the business in a meaningful way, according to a statement released by Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier alongside the company's second-quarter earnings results.
Virgin Galactic shares fell more than 15% during Friday's trading session.
The company posted a larger net loss of $110.7 million in the second quarter, after losing $94 million in the same quarter a year ago.
Virgin Galactic originally planned to begin commercial flights in the third quarter this year, but moved that back to the fourth quarter last fall in order to allow the company to conduct a previously announced enhancement period for its VSS Unity spaceplane and VMS Eve mothership.
The company said in May that the new target for space tourism would be the first quarter of 2023, citing escalating supply chain and labor constraints. Tickets for future spaceflights are currently sold for $450,000 apiece.