British Airways profits attempt to land, crash and burn instead

22 May 2009

We all expected airlines to have a stunningly lousy time during the recession, but even they weren't expecting the degree to which they'd suffer. Today, British Airways have announced that increasing fuel costs, the weak pound and falling passenger numbers have seen the airline record their biggest loss in 22 years - since BA was privatised.

The company has reported a loss before tax of £401m for the year to March 31st - that's compared to a profit of nearly £1 billion for the previous year. Where has all the money gone? Fuel costs rose by nearly 50 per cent last year, lumbering BA with a fuel bill of nearly £3 billion. Sacking people is also a costly affair - the airline cut 2,500 jobs and spent nearly £80 million in the process.

The drop in passenger numbers will also have execs screaming into their espressos; the total number for the year fell 4.3 per cent to 33.1 million. Worse still, since airlines like BA rely on margins from business and first class sales to make flights profitable, it's grim news when the number of passengers flying in the posh seats falls 13 per cent in a year. It's no surprise that BA has announced a sale on business class seats that's continuing until the end of June.

Although the airline will begin cutting services to reduce costs, the bosses aren't daft - they're well aware of the British need to indulge in drinking, gambling and sunshine when times are hard, and so have just announced direct flights from Heathrow to Las Vegas from the Autumn.

TOPICS:   Travel   Economy

14 comments

  • Iain
    They are in exactly the same boat as all of the other airlines and others will be hit much harder. It probably doesn't help when people like me exchange £900 and lots of Clubcard points for flights which would have cost nearly £13,500 however...
  • Ian
    It's "Espresso" not "Expresso"
  • Mike H.
    I love it when some poncy twat who thinks he knows about coffe orders an 'Expresso', namely BMW/Audi drivers.
  • James
    this is bad bad news man!
  • Iain
    Ha Ha, they've edited it.....anyway, isn't an Expresso a small coffee whitened with tit milk? LOL
  • Paul S.
    Ha Ha... eh? Edited - thanks Ian.
  • Paul Nikkel EDITOR
    @Ian - I think an expresso is an espresso made in mcdonalds drivethru. badda boom
  • Tom P.
    At least Willie will work FREE in July, why don't you lazy students running BW do that?
  • vbn
    british airways and virgin are still fixing fares on uk san francisco london route they are $300 more than the others,a peak fare used to be $750 last year with british airways it was $2000 for economy and last minute it was $4500 economy,and they wonder why people are not flying if they ever get a deal with spanish airlines,fares will shoot up there,
  • Virgin B.
    [...] the economic recession on the chin, quickly followed by a Kato-style karate chop to the windpipe. BA reported a loss before tax of £401 million for the year to March 31st, compared to a profit of nearly £1 billion for the previous year. One [...]
  • BA B.
    [...] we are. This U-turn in apparent BW policy comes about because of British Airways; keen to plug the £401 million gap in their profits, and not content with asking staff to work for free for a month, BA have now decided to attack the [...]
  • British B.
    [...] the face of a £401 million pre-tax loss, seems British Airways are still needing to save some money. They’ve asked staff to work for [...]
  • British B.
    [...] list of attempts by British Airways to reduce its recently announced £401 million pre-tax loss is beginning to look like a strategy document for Ryanair. It seems any and all suggestions for [...]
  • penny s.
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