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Budget airline Go loses pounds 1m a month

GO, the low-cost airline launched by British Airways last year, is losing money at the rate of more than pounds 1m a month but remains on target to break even by March 2001.

The airline's first set of financial accounts, published yesterday, show that Go made a pre-tax loss of pounds 19.95m for the 17-month period to 31 March this year. Sales in the period were pounds 31.6m.

That compares with losses of pounds 5.5m on turnover of pounds 17m in Luton-based rival easyJet's first year of trading, and the pounds 15.5m loss incurred by Debonair in its first year of operations on sales of pounds 14m.

Barbara Cassani, Go's American-born chief executive, earned a total salary of pounds 281,000 for the period, including an undisclosed bonus which was linked to certain performance targets.

Ms Cassani said that as of the end of March, Go had used up less than half of the pounds 25m dowry it had received from British Airways when it was launched as a company in November 1997.

Since the launch of actual airline operations in May last year, Go's fleet has grown from four to 12 aircraft, while it is now carrying 200,000 passengers a month and the staff total stands at 550.

Ms Cassani said she planned to launch a maximum of five new routes this year in addition to the 12 routes Go already operates from Stansted airport. New services to Prague and Barcelona begin this month.