BA profits soar to £415m

British Airways today announced pre-tax profits of £415 million for its last financial year, a sharp rise on the £230 million reported a year earlier.

Rod Eddington, who is due to step down as chief executive later this year, said the performance reflected ongoing cost controls and strong demand.

Despite the figures, which were ahead of many analysts' expectations, BA said it was braced for a £400 million rise in fuel costs in the current year.

The fuel cost hike is higher than the £300 million previously forecast, although BA has offset some of the increase by raising fuel surcharges, lifting its long-haul levy to £16 a flight.

The strong performance means around 35,000 UK staff will get a bonus of one and a quarter week's pay - equivalent to £612 at the lowest level.

The award, which is the first such payment since 1998, was triggered by an operating margin of 6.9% - a rise of 1.5 points on a year earlier.