BAA losses hit £822m after Gatwick sale

AIRPORTS operator BAA has reported a big loss for the full year 2009 as the forced sale of Gatwick and declining passenger numbers hit the company.

The operator posted a pre-tax loss of £821.9m compared with a £324.2m loss in 2008.

The sale of Gatwick cost the company £277.3m and pension deficits £217.8m, while passenger numbers were down almost 4 per cent at 85.9 million.

However, operational performance at the company is improving, the company said.

BAA, owned by Spain’s Ferrovial, added that it would be spending £1bn this year on upgrading its airports.

Chief executive Colin Matthews said: “Our financial performance remains resilient, especially at Heathrow. We expect 2010 to present further economic challenges for the industry as a whole, and we will remain focused on improving our efficiency and the service we offer customers.”

The operator was also ordered to sell Stansted and one of Glasgow or Edinburgh by the Competition Commission, but has been given permission by the Competition Appeal Tribunal to appeal the decision.

The Competition Commission is now appealing against the Tribunal's findings.