British Airways Announces Midterm Report

British Airways topday presented its interim management report for the six months ended September 30.

Among the highlights in the report:

   A profit before tax of $252 million (2009: loss of $465 million)
   Revenue up $550 million due to improved yields
*    Costs down 1.5 percent
*    Operating profit of $475 million (2009: loss of $177 million)
*    Quarter 2 operating profit of $590 million (2009: loss of $27 million)

“Our concerted efforts to introduce permanent structural change across the airline has led to a reduction in non-fuel costs and a return to profitability. Revenue has increased, driven primarily by yield improvements and, while fuel costs have risen, they are in line with our expectations," British Airways’ chief executive Willie Walsh, said. "Our focus on permanent structural change will continue. This summer we agreed a new productivity deal with our Heathrow terminal-based staff that will provide a more flexible, cost-efficient and customer focused ground operation. In addition, the first of the cabin crew recruited on new terms and conditions have completed training and start flying on Monday.

“At a strategic level, we launched our transatlantic joint business with American Airlines and Iberia earlier this month, having received regulatory approval in the summer," Wals continued. "Also, we expect to complete our merger with Iberia in January 2011. Regulatory information about the merger has been sent to shareholders in advance of shareholder meetings on November 29 to seek approval for the merger. Our customers remain our main focus. Our first two Boeing 777-300ER aircraft – with new cabins and in-flight entertainment throughout – are now in operation with the third scheduled to enter service next month. Customer reaction to the new aircraft has been fantastic. We announced new routes from Heathrow to Tokyo Haneda and San Diego, Gatwick to San Juan in Puerto Rico and London City to Stockholm that will start next year. A new winter ski route from London City to Chambery will launch in December.

“Despite disruption caused by numerous air traffic control strikes across Europe this summer, 74 percent of our Heathrow flights and 84 percent of our Gatwick flights departed on time, significantly outperforming our major competitors,” Walsh concluded.

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