Downturn Hits British Airways

British Airways (BA) has announced that it made a £70m (US$104m) loss in the nine months to December 31, bruised by further economic weakness and the weak pound.
Over the same period last year, BA had made a pre-tax profit of £816m (US$1.2bn).
The airline says it has many costs that must be paid in dollars, so the decline in the value of sterling makes aspects such as aircraft leasing, air traffic control and airport charges more expensive.
A company press release stated: “The industry continues to face very difficult trading conditions on the back of a weak economic environment.”
Fuel costs rose 48% to £2.2bn (US$3.2bn), but BA says it expects to benefit from falling fuel prices in the 2009/2010 financial year.
Revenue rose 6.2% to £7.1bn (US$10,5bn).
The airline had already warned that it expects to make an operating loss of about £150m in the 2008/2009 financial year. It says it will try to sell more tickets in countries with stronger currencies to enable it to benefit from exchange rates.