BA reports massive dive in pre-tax profits

British Airways has reported a 91.6% dive in pre-tax profits for the first half of the year. Willie Walsh, the airline’s chief executive, says the period “will be remembered as the bleakest on record”.

The group says pre-tax profits fell to £52m from £616m for the same period last year. Walsh says: “The period was hit by a crisis in the banking sector, record fuel prices and several airlines going out of business.”

Despite the drop in profits, the company saw a 5% rise in revenue on the same period last year. Costs rose by £711m, mainly due to rising oil prices, which accounted for £511m of the rise.

It warns that its trading outlook remains “very difficult” due to the economic climate. The carrier says it will reduce its number of flights by about 1% in 2009 in anticipation of less demand from travellers.

The company says it has also been hit by a weakening pound, which added £100m to its costs, and it says that this was likely to continue during the second half. The airline says further costs have been added by BAA, the airport operator, which has raised fees at Heathrow and Gatwick by 38% and 36% respectively.

Meanwhile, BA claims there have been improvements at Heathrow’s Terminal 5, following its chaotic opening in April. Walsh says the terminal is now “running smoothly”.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here