British Airways Posts More Losses

In yet more distressing news from the UK's flag carrier, British Airways presented its interim management statement today for the three months ending June 30.

The airline suffered an operating loss of $112 million (last year, it lost $146 million) and a loss before tax of $255 million (2009: $230 million). On the other hand, its cash balance of $2.72 billion is up $54 million from year end; the merger between BA, Iberia and American Airlines is in good shape; and the pensions agreements were approved by the UK Pensions Regulator.

British Airways’ chief executive Willie Walsh blamed the low numbers on the Iceland volcano and the strikes by the airline's crews earlier this year. “Our cost performance continues to follow last year’s trend with total costs for the quarter down 3.3 percent," he said. "Our focus must remain on cost control as we grow and continue our quest for permanent structural change across the business." While there seemed to be few specific details about what those changes would involve, there have been more rumblings of strikes that may take place as soon as September.

Total revenue in the period was down 2.3 percent. Passenger revenue was down 3.4 percent, on capacity down 11.2 percent. Yields improved by 13.5 percent, 12.7 percent excluding exchange, driven by a change in mix especially within cabin. Without the disruption during the period, the airline estimates that passenger revenue would have increased by some 11 percent year on year.

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