After losing £1 billion over the past two years, British Airways has sunk further into the red with a £164 million loss for the last quarter. The flag carrier cited the cabin crew strikes and volcanic ash cloud for costing it an estimated £250 million.
However BA painted a more optimistic outlook, saying that “while some economic experts are flagging the risk of a ‘double-dip’ recession, the steady recovery continues.”
Chief executive Willie Walsh said the airline had seen an improved operating performance despite the disruptions and that BA expects to break even this year after two years of losses. Operating losses narrowed to £72m from £94m in 2009.
Walsh said he saw “positive underlying trends in both cargo and passenger traffic”.
Cabin crew have taken 22 days of industrial action since March and further walkouts could take place from September as the unrest lingers on.
With the threat of cabin crew strikes still lingering, Walsh signalled there will be no let up in his effort to change BA.
“Introducing permanent structural change across the airline remains our priority,” he told reporters.
The results came as it emerged that BA cabin crew was planning a 12 days of Christmas strike action.
Staff are said to want a repeat of the action threatened last year, which was only prevented when a High Court ruled against it.
Walsh said he believed the ‘final’ offer rejected by Unite members earlier this month still formed the basis of a resolution to the dispute. But he also added that he was confident of running 100 per cent of long-haul flights if there was more industrial action.
“We continue to train volunteer cabin crew and that programme is going very well. I am looking forward to hearing what the trade union has to say in light of the poor turnout in the last ballot.
“I want to reach a resolution but we are preparing for further industrial action. I am confident we will operate 100 per cent of our long- haul services and we are looking at the short-haul programme.”