BA says it is making progress on a cost savings programme that includes cutting jobs. Unions have fought against those changes, but BA says they are necessary if it is to survive.

"Returning the business to profitability requires permanent change across the company, and it's disappointing that our cabin crew union fails to recognise that," Willie Walsh, the airline's CEO, said.

The airline said it managed to cut costs by nearly one billion pounds in 2009.

The new year has not started much better for BA though. Cabin crews are once again poised to strike, with a series of three five-day walkouts planned, the first of which is scheduled to begin on Monday.

And the volcanic ash cloud that suspended European air travel last month cost the airline tens of millions of pounds in costs and lost revenue.