BA to delay superjumbo deliveries

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British Airways announced further reductions in its summer 2009 and winter 2009/10 schedules as well as delays to the delivery of its fleet of 500-seat Airbus A380 superjumbos.

The announcement came as BA revealed that it carried 2.93 million passengers last month - 4.9 per cent fewer than in June 2008.

BA said that in response to the "challenging economic conditions" it was now expecting its capacity for the period April-October this year to be 3.5 per cent down rather than the originally-forecast 2.5 per cent.

The airline said its winter capacity (October 2009 to March 2010) was now expected to be down by 5 per cent rather than 4 per cent.

In addition, BA said it was putting back by an average of five months the delivery of its first six A380s - although the first is still due to arrive within the originally-planned year of 2012.

BA said the schedule for the delivery of the remaining six A380s it had ordered was being put back by an average of two years, with the final aircraft arriving in 2016.

BA's June 2009 passenger figures showed that Asia Pacific traffic (down 16.8 per cent) represented the biggest fall, although Africa and Middle East passenger numbers were up 0.9 per cent.

BA planes flew 79.6 per cent full last month compared with 81.4 per cent in June 2008.

The airline had a 14.9 per cent fall last month in premium traffic (passengers who fly business class or first class), while economy class numbers were down 1.3 per cent.

BA said: "Market conditions continue to be very challenging with trading at levels well below last year.

"However, on an underlying basis both premium and non-premium volumes and seat factors have now been stable for more than three months."

A June 30 deadline set by BA management for unions to agree a cost-saving package passed without agreement and conciliation service Acas has been called in.

Asked about possible talks next week, BA group treasurer and investor relations head George Stinnes said he could not comment and could give no details of any timings of any meetings.

BA has already achieved a job reduction target of around 2,500 for the period June 2008 and March 2009. The airline plans to cut a further 3,700 jobs in 2009/10.

Meanwhile, low-fare airline Ryanair announced today that it carried 5.84 million passengers in June 2009 - a 13 per cent increase on its June 2008 total.

Ryanair planes flew 85 per cent full last month compared with 84 per cent full in June 2008.