British Airways – from record profit to record loss

May 22: British Airways presented its preliminary results for year ending March 31 posting a record loss of £401 million, contrasting with a profit of £922 million for the previous year.

Declining passenger numbers and soaring fuel costs through 2008 were blamed. British Airways’ Chief Executive Willie Walsh said, “Our total fuel bill reached almost £3 billion. The prolonged nature of the global downturn makes this the harshest trading environment we have ever faced.”

To combat the losses, aircraft will be withdrawn from service. “Next winter we will continue to reduce capacity by taking out 4% of flying compared to last year, parking up to 16 aircraft”, said Walsh.

British Airways’ chairman, Martin Broughton, said “In the last twelve months we have gone from a record profit to a record loss due to the current tough economic environment. The revenue outlook continues to be weak during the current financial year, but we expect lower fuel prices to reduce our costs by approximately £400 million.”

Walsh and finance director Keith Williams both stated they would forgo their salaries in July, reported to be £735,000 and £440,000 a year respectively.

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