BAA earnings rise as traffic edges higher

Kasmira Jefford
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BAA posted a 17 per cent rise in underlying earnings in the first nine months of the year, lifted by traffic growth, especially at London’s Heathrow airport.

BAA, owned by a consortium led by Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial, said adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose to £842.2m, on revenues 10.2 per cent higher at £1.7bn.

The debt-laden group narrowed its pre-tax losses to £147.3m from £192.6m in 2010, although its performance last year was hit by the effects of the volcanic ash cloud and British Airways cabin crew strike.

BAA, which owns London’s Heathrow as well as Southampton, Stansted, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports, said passenger traffic rose 4.3 per cent during the period.

Heathrow traffic rose by 6.1 per cent, more than offsetting a 2.1 per cent fall in passengers at Stansted, caused by a declining domestic market.

A steady rise in long-haul business traffic, especially to emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil and new US routes has helped drive growth, the group said.

BAA put Edinburgh airport up for sale after the Competition Commission told the firm earlier this month that it must sell either Edinburgh or Glasgow airport before it disposes of Stansted.

BAA confirmed that a judicial review of the watchdog’s ruling requiring it to sell Stansted would take place in December.

Meanwhile BAA’s director of Terminal Five, Liz Neighbour, resigned yesterday after less than 12 months in the role. The company said “people come and go all the time in a large organisation”.