Virgin Atlantic staff have raised nearly £200,000 for charity as the airline focuses its efforts on working with two charities.

Head of public relations Anna Knowles said the airline decided to work closely with two charities, Free the Children and The Travel Foundation, for the next three years in a bid to effect greater change.

Although the two charities were nominated publicly only at the start of the year, fund-raising efforts started last year and are already going strong.

About £40,000 was raised when 60 cabin crew and members of staff climbed Mount Kenya earlier this month. The money is being donated to a village in Sikirar in Kenya as part of the Free the Children charity where it will be spent on sanitation and education projects.

Knowles said: “During the mountain climb a number of staff visited the village and another one that had been helped by Free the Children so now they can see the difference the charity makes.”

She said the airline has also put together a team consisting of 21 members of staff to raise further cash for the charity by running the London Marathon, while a further £158,000 has been raised by the airline’s staff since last autumn.

The money has been earmarked for a village in Rajasthan where some of it will be spent on health workshops.

Knowles added Virgin Atlantic is currently working with The Travel Foundation on which of the charity’s Caribbean projects to support.

Travel Weekly Aviation Issue - March 26 2009This article appeared in a special aviation-themed issue of Travel Weekly edited by Virgin Atlantic chief executive Steve Ridgway