BA profits tumble

7 Nov 2008 by Mark Caswell

BA has announced
a 91 per cent drop in before-tax profits, and is to cut several short and
long-haul services, including Gatwick-Zurich and Heathrow-Kolkata.

The carrier
announced before-tax profits of £52 million for the six-month period to
September 30, 2008, down from £616 million in 2007. Commenting on the results
CEO Willie Walsh said:

“This is a good performance given the incredibly
difficult trading conditions. 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.”

Walsh added that
BA’s annual fuel bill is expected to be up 50 per cent at around £3 billion,
and said that the carrier planned to reduce its summer 2009  capacity by one per cent compared with 2008. There
were four route cuts announced today for the summer 2009 schedule – services
from Heathrow to Kolkata and Dhaka, as well as short-haul routes from Gatwick
to Zurich and Dublin.

Walsh also said
that BA was on track to to complete the fitting of its new Club World product
across the remainder of its 777 fleet by the end of 2009, with all 57 of its
747s already carrying the new seating. He also touched upon the forthcoming
launch of BA’s all-business class transatlantic service out of London City to
New York, saying that the first Airbus A318 aircraft to operate the route is
now in production at Toulouse.

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Report by Mark

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