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BA reports 'better than expected' £50m loss

BRITISH Airways has reported a £50m pre-tax loss for the third quarter as passenger numbers fell.

The result for the three months to December 31 was better than the £151m forecast by analysts.

The airline's deficit for the first nine months of its financial year was £342m.

BA boss Willie Walsh said the better-than-expected results were down to the company’s cost-cutting programme.

Those cuts have put it on collision course with the unions who are balloting members over strike action.

BA only avoided a Christmas walk-out after winning a legal challenge against the move.

Walsh said: "These results highlight the impact of permanent changes across the company on our costs.

"Those changes, combined with capacity reductions and external spending cuts, mean operating costs are down by 10.5 per cent and show that we've adapted quickly to the new business realities created by the global recession."

Disruption to flights during the big freeze also contributed to the difficulties faced by BA.

Meanwhile the company is struggling to fill a £3.7bn pension fund deficit.