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Wednesday 14th of April 2010
February 5, 2010    

BA posts £50m loss in Q3

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by Kay Murchie

British Airways (BA) has today reported a £50 million loss in the three months to December 31 2009, compared with the £122 million it lost in the same period a year earlier.

However, the loss was much less than analysts’ predictions for a £151 million loss.

Meanwhile, the airline posted a surprise £25 million operating profit in the three-month period, against a loss of £51 million the previous year.

The airline, which admitted last year that it was fighting for survival, is currently in the High Court with the Unite union over changes to cabin crew contracts.

The airline wants 75% of its crew to accept a pay freeze this year and for 3,000 staff to switch to part-time working in a bid to cut costs.

Meanwhile, commenting on today’s figures, BA chief executive, Willie Walsh, said: “Operating costs are down by 10.5% and show that we’ve adapted quickly to the new businesses realities created by the global recession.”

He added: “We still expect to make record losses this year. Permanent structural change is being introduced in all areas and will return us to sustained profitability.”

Meanwhile, Unite announced last week that a second strike ballot had begun for its 12,000 cabin crew members and is to close on 22 February, the news will no doubt raise renewed fears for travellers.

In related news, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said 2009 saw the biggest decline in air passenger traffic since the aftermath of World War II.

The Industry body’s chief, Giovanni Bisignani, said: “In terms of demand, 2009 goes into the history books as the worst year the industry has ever seen.”

IATA estimates that airlines collectively lost $11 billion (£6.8 billion) in 2009 and believes that airlines will suffer losses of $5.6 billion (£3.5 billion) in 2010 - an increase from the $3.8 billion it originally predicted.

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