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British Airways flies into the red

LONDON, MAY 23: Once the world's most profitable airline, British Airways today unveiled its first annual loss since privatisation, blamin...

LONDON, MAY 23: Once the world’s most profitable airline, British Airways today unveiled its first annual loss since privatisation, blaming rising fuel costs and the strength of sterling against the euro.

Excluding exceptional gains, BA nosedived into a loss of 244 million pounds ($ 361.1 billion) for full year to March 31. Forecasts had suggested he pre-exceptionals loss could be as high as 286 million pounds.

Following the one-off gains, the company managed a pre-tax profit of five million pounds, 97.7 per cent lower than a year ago. Chief executive Rod Eddington, who was appointed earlier this year to replace Bob Ayling, hinted at a shift in strategy, saying he believed "the basic planks" were in place.

Eddington, previously at Australian airline Ansett, said: "Since my arrival at the beginning of May, I have been talking to staff, customers, investors and other key stakeholders in the business.

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"I have been impressed by their enthusiasm and their determination. I believe that the basic planks of our strategy which include developing frequency, network and customer service are a good foundation for a return to profitability." A spokesman for BA added that the airline’s strategy could be modified, saying: "The broad strategy is still very much in place, though there is still the potential to tweak it and he (Eddington) is keeping that option in reserve."

First published on: 24-05-2000 at 12:00:00 am
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