British Airways posts record loss
UK carrier posts annual loss of $613m for the year ending on March 31.
Last Modified: 21 May 2010 07:08 GMT
BA's record losses were caused by a combination of strikes, bad weather, and higher costs [AFP]

British Airways has posted an annual loss of 425 million pounds ($613m) for the year that ended on March 31.

That is a record loss for the UK's flagship carrier, which suffered in 2009 from high fuel costs and a dwindling number of passengers. Record snows disrupted flights throughout the winter, and a three-day cabin crew strike in March cost the airline some 45 million pounds.

The result announced on Friday is far worse than last year's 358 million pound loss, but is better than what many analysts expected.

Shares in BA have nonetheless dropped 17 per cent in the last month.

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.

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