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BAA narrows losses despite ash and snow

The airport operator BAA shook off the effects of the volcanic ash cloud and snow to post reduced losses last year, as the global industry recovered.

The pre-tax loss at BAA fell from £821.9m in 2009 to £317m last year. Revenues rose 5 per cent to £2bn, reflecting higher tariffs and an "exceptional retail performance". Colin Matthews, BAA's chief executive, backed the "robust" performance, adding that "strong passenger growth at Heathrow in the second half of the year reflected the ongoing improvement in the global economic climate".

The company, which sold Gatwick airport in December 2009, raised £2bn in new financing last year as it intended to invest in Heathrow, including an overhaul of Terminal 2. Yet it has also been ordered to sell off Stansted and one of its airports in Scotland after failing to overturn a court ruling.

Mr Matthews was bullish over the company's prospects. He said: "In 2011, we expect to deliver a strong increase in profits and cash flow, enabling us to make further investments in improving facilities and further strengthening our financial position."