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British Airways says to make small profit this year

india Updated: Nov 07, 2008 13:21 IST

Reuters
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British Airways Plc said on Friday it would make a small profit in the current financial year, as first-half to end-Sept profits plunged to 52 million pounds ($82.64 million) against 616 million last year.

The company, which also reported a further fall in passenger numbers for October, also said revenue for the year would grow by at least 4 percent after a slight increase for the half year to 4.75 billion pounds.

"This is a good performance given the incredibly difficult trading conditions. The six month period will be remembered as the bleakest on record," Chief Executive Willie Walsh said in a statement, citing high fuel costs and the banking crisis.

He said the fuel bill for the year would still be the previously stated 3 billion pounds despite lower oil prices, and that its hedging strategy remained broadly in place.

October passenger numbers fell 4.4 per cent compared to the same month last year, but this included a 9 per cent fall in business travel, the main source for BA profits.

Shares in the airline closed on Thursday at 130.5 pence, less than half the level at the start of the year, valuing the business at 1.5 billion pounds.

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