BA enjoys profits boost

British Airways has presented its preliminary results for the 12 months to March with operating profits up on last year to £875 million. Highlights included:

á Revenue up 3.1 per cent to £8,753 million
á Operating profit of £875 million (2007: £602 million)
á Operating margin 10.0 per cent (2007: 7.1 per cent)
á Profit before tax of £883 million (2007: £611 million)
á Full year fuel costs top £2 billion
á Two million passengers through T5 since opening
á NAPS pension deficit tackled
á First dividend since 2001
á Staff share in £35 million bonus

British Airways’ chief executive Willie Walsh, said:

“This is an outstanding financial result for the company despite rising fuel prices and significant economic slowdown in the last six months.  We have achieved our goal of a ten per cent operating margin which I am delighted has triggered the reward scheme for our staff.  For our shareholders too, it signals the welcome return of a dividend - the first since 2001.

“Delivering ten per cent has not been easy, but we have achieved it by remaining focused on our strategy for the last six years.  We tackled our pension deficit and we have strengthened the fundamentals of our balance sheet while at the same time growing a profitable business.


“We operate in a volatile market and this year has been no different.  Against the background of a progressively tougher trading environment we have continued to work hard on our cost savings to deliver these strong results.

“Our profits are up some 45 per cent and operating costs are down 0.7 per cent. Excluding fuel, operating costs are down 3.0 per cent.  Fuel prices have hit record highs and continue to climb, driving some airlines into bankruptcy and putting pressure on others.

“Our new Club World cabin is now on our entire Boeing 747 fleet and winning praise and awards from our customers and the industry.  We continue to enhance making it even easier for customers to manage their bookings.

“Despite the difficulties of the opening of Terminal 5 in the first few days, it is now working well and some two million passengers have gone through it and many have enjoyed the experience. Phase 2 of the move of our longhaul services into the terminal begins on June 5 and will include our blue riband New York services and flights to seven other destinations.

“Earlier this month we announced that we were in talks to explore opportunities for cooperation with American Airlines and Continental Airlines. These talks continue. We plan to launch our new OpenSkies service from Paris Orly to New York JFK on June 19.”