EUROPE & CIS: BA 1H down, but looks to small full-year profit

British Airways reported a consolidated net loss of £49 million in its fiscal first half ended 30 September, which indicated a steep second-quarter deficit of £76 million, a reversal from earnings of £333 million in the same period a year earlier. Half-year revenue climbed 6.4 per cent year-on-year to £4.75 billion. But operating costs surged […]


British Airways reported a consolidated net loss of £49 million in its fiscal first half ended 30 September, which indicated a steep second-quarter deficit of £76 million, a reversal from earnings of £333 million in the same period a year earlier.

Half-year revenue climbed 6.4 per cent year-on-year to £4.75 billion. But operating costs surged 18.2 per cent to £4.61 billion, due primarily to the “dramatic” 52 per cent increase in fuel costs. The carrier expects its full-year fuel bill to be 50 per cent higher than last year’s at about £3 billion. Half-year operating result consequently nosedived 75.3 per cent to £140 million against £567 million for the same period last year. Operating margin was 2.9 per cent, far from its 10 per cent goal and down from last year’s 12.7 per cent.

“This is a good performance given the incredibly difficult trading conditions,” CEO Willie Walsh claimed. “The six month period will be remembered as one of the bleakest on record. The period was hit by a crisis in the banking sector, record fuel prices and several airlines going out of business.”

Capacity for the summer 2009 schedule will be reduced 1 per cent year-on-year and four routes will be suspended: London Heathrow to Dhaka and Kolkata and London Gatwick to Dublin and Zurich. However, BA is pushing ahead with its new twice-daily, business class-only A318 flights from London City to New York next year. It also revised its capital expenditure forecast to £550 million from £650 million for the year.