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BAA sees financial losses narrow

BAA sees financial losses narrow

BAA has seen financial losses narrow for financial 2010, despite being hit by the ash cloud, snow disruption and strikes at British Airways.

The airport operator recorded a pre-tax loss of £316.6 million for the year to December 31st, down from £821.9 a year earlier.

The figure includes losses from the forced sale of Gatwick Airport following a Competition Commission decision and a £218 million charge for its pension deficit.

Revenue over the period increases 4.9 per cent to £2.1 billion – driven by higher tariffs and exceptional retail performance.

While passenger numbers fell to 84.3 million, from 85.9 million, BAA improves its earnings per passenger from £4.72 to £5.29 – an increase of 12.1 per cent.

BAA is partially owned by Ferrovial of Spain and operates London Heathrow, London Stansted, Southampton, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports.

However, the Competition Commission is presently seeking to force BAA to sell Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports.

Last week, the airport operator lost its latest challenge against the ruling to sell these airports, when courts refused its application to appeal against the commission decision.

Tumultuous 2010

Falling losses come despite a series of unforeseen events in 2010.

In April last year Heathrow and Stansted Airports were closed for five days as volcanic ash from Iceland drifted over Europe.

Thousands of flights were cancelled as stranded passengers were forced to seek alternative routes across Europe.

BAA also pointed to the 22 days of strike action by BA cabin crew strikes which resulted in 34 days of service disruption at Heathrow.

Both events were followed by airport closures and flight cancellations caused by heavy snow in the run up to Christmas, which BAA said last month had cost it £24 million.

Heathrow Airport was particularly hard hit, with critics accusing BAA of underinvestment.