Reduced annual loss for airports group

AIRPORTS group BAA today announced a reduced annual loss for its Heathrow and Stansted operations during 2010.

The group said it still hoped to be allowed to retain both airports, despite last week’s refusal of permission to appeal to the Supreme Court against a Competition Commission ruling that it must sell Stansted, and either Edinburgh or Glasgow airport in Scotland.

BAA posted a pre-tax loss of �316.6m for the year to December 31, down 61.5% on 2009’s loss of �821.9m.

The improved figure was achieved with the help of a 4.9% increase in revenue, from �1.978billion to �2.074bn, despite the impact during the year of disruption caused snow, strikes and the ash cloud from the Icelandic vocano eruption.

Passenger numbers at the two London airports fell by 1.8% overall to 84.3million, with Heathrow’s numbers down just 0.2% at 65.7m but Stansted’s 7% lower at 18.6million.

BAA chief executive Colin Matthews today described the group’s financial performance for the year as “robust”.

“Strong passenger growth at Heathrow in the second half of the year reflected the ongoing improvement in the global economic climate,” he added.

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For further details, see the Business section of tomorrow’s EADT.