British Airways has reported its biggest ever loss as last year’s record fuel prices and the economic downturn sent profits crashing.
The carrier swung to a pre-tax loss of £401m in the 12 months to March 31 from a £922m profit in the same period last year.
A near £3bn fuel bill offset revenue gains, which increased to £9bn from £8.7bn a year earlier.
Willie Walsh, BA’s chief executive, says with no “immediate improvement visible” to the “challenging” economic environment the airline needs to ensure it offers “excellent” customer service.
He claims improvements have been made to Terminal 5, which was beset by problems when it opened last year, and that customers “love the improved punctuality and faster service. The carrier was forced to launch a “Terminal 5 is working” marketing campaign in the wake of its disastrous opening.
The carrier has been exploring a number of possible tie-ups with rival carriers Iberia and American Airlines to improve efficiency but has yet to given “anti-trust immunity” by the European and US regulators.