BA's premium traffic falls; Saudi flights delayed

6 Feb 2009 by Mark Caswell

British Airways has announced a 13.7 per cent fall in premium traffic during January 2009 compared with the same period in 2008. The carrier also confirmed that its resumption of flights to Saudi Arabia has been delayed until May 31.

There was a 1.4 per cent rise in non-premium traffic over the same period, and a one per cent rise in load factors. In an interim management statement BA said that costs were up by more than £1bn to £7bn for the nine months to December 31, 2008, “reflecting the significantly increased fuel costs and the impact of weak sterling”.

Despite the fall in premium traffic the airline said it had completed the design and certification of its new first class cabin, with the intention of fitting it on to its long-haul fleet “later this year”.

BA also confirmed that the resumption of flights to Saudi Arabia, originally planned for March (see online news November 26, 2008), has now been delayed until May 31. A spokesperson for BA said it had taken longer than anticipated to prepare for the new routes, but that Saudi Arabia remained “an important market” for the airline.

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Report by Mark Caswell

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