British Airways posts profit for first time in two years
29-Oct-10by Annie Byrne
British Airways has recorded a profit for the first time in two years, announcing a pre-tax surplus of £158m for the last six months. The carrier listed heavily in the recession, spending most of the last year contending with cabin crew strikes and crippling natural disasters courtesy of the giant volcanic ash cloud which grounded flights across the globe for several days. Chief executive Willie Walsh claimed the airline “turned a corner” once its unpopular cost-saving measures started to take effect. The profit, for the six months to 30 September, is more than double the £73million that had been expected by analysts. The company recorded a loss of £164m in the first quarter, a figure pulled back into the black by profits of £322m in the second quarter, attributed largely to the busy summer holiday season which helped to pull the half-year back into the black. In related news, Walsh has joined Virgin Atlantic and Easyjet in their criticism of the huge hike in Air Passenger Duty due to come into effect on 1 November. He claimed the hike, which could lead to a 55 per cent rise in airport tax, would damage the economy by making the UK “a much more expensive place to do business”.