Business travellers ponder possible frequency and route cuts as British Airways reports a pre-tax loss for the financial year 2008 – 2009 of £401 million, compared to a profit of £922 million for the previous year. The loss will mean a reduction of flights, but the airline has not yet announced on which routes.
British Airways’ chief executive Willie Walsh, said “Next winter we will continue to reduce capacity by taking out 4 per cent of flying compared to last year, parking up to 16 aircraft.”
Flights have already been cut from Heathrow to Dhaka, Islamabad and Kolkata, from Gatwick to Dresden, Dublin, Newquay, Poznan, Sarajevo and Zurich and from London City to Dublin and Warsaw.
BA has recently announced new routes, however, with Heathrow-Las Vegas due to commence in October (see online news May 17). Heathrow to Hyderabad launched in December last year.
Walsh blamed the global downturn for the losses, saying it is “the harshest trading environment we have ever faced.” The airline’s fuel costs alone were almost £3 billion.
Hong Kong, New York and Phoenix are possible routes that might see a reduction in capacity.
Report by Sara Turner