British Airways plans to cut spending by 20%

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The Independent Online

British Airways has cut its spending plans by 20 per cent for the current year as it prepares for a lengthy industry downturn.

The carrier, which also reported another fall in passenger numbers last month, said it had reduced its capital expenditure to £580m for the year to the end of March 2010, down from £725m, and pencilled in a similar number for the following year.

The spending cuts included the deferral of orders for 12 Airbus A380 aircraft for up to two years.

"We have renegotiated a delivery schedule ... the demand we expected in 2012 will now arrive later," BA's head of investor relations George Stinnes told reporters, adding that the firm still expected to have £1bn in cash by March 2010.

BA shares closed the day up 5.5 per cent at 126p a share, valuing the firm at £1.44bn.

The carrier, currently locked in talks with trade unions in a desperate attempt to wring cost cuts from staff, said it carried 3.8 per cent fewer passengers in June than in the same month last year, including a near 15 per cent fall in premium, or business, traffic.

The company said its long-running falls in traffic had stabilised in recent months, while Irish budget airline Ryanair

reported its latest rise in numbers -- up 13 per cent for June to £5.84m.

BA's load factor, a measure of how well it fills planes, was down 1.8 per cent at 79.6 per cent, while Ryanair's was up 1 per cent at 85 per cent.

Ryanair closed the session up 1.35 per cent.

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