2 Aug 2010

British airlines report steep losses

12:54 pm on 2 August 2010

Two of Britain's largest airlines have announced steep losses, but say the aviation market is showing signs of picking up.

British Airways (BA) recorded its seventh consecutive quarterly loss in the three months to June, losing more than $US119 million, as its staff took industrial action and thousands of flights were disrupted by the ash clould from Iceland's volcano.

BA said, however, that total costs were down 3.3% on a year ago.

Its rival, Virgin Atlantic, reported an operating loss of $US205 million in the year to February.

Chief executive Steve Ridgway says the industry hasn't returned to pre-crisis levels, but a recovery is underway and sales are up 10% so far this year.

Meanwhile, British Airways says that the UK pensions regulator had approved its plan to reduce its pension deficit, central to BA's merger with Iberia.

The BBC reports the Spanish carrier has until 30 September to review the plan, which it can withdraw from if it deems it unsatisfactory.