BAA losses narrow to £317m

UK airports operator BAA has reported a pre-tax loss of £317m for 2010 – a year blighted by volcanic ash, strikes and snow.

The loss is an improvement on 2009's £822m, which included hits from its forced sale of Gatwick airport and a £218m charge for its pension deficit.

The Competition Commission wants BAA to sell two of its UK airports.

BAA, which is owned by Spain's Ferrovial, owns and operates Heathrow, Stansted, Southampton, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports.

Last week, it lost its latest court challenge against the Competition Commission's ruling that it must sell Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports.

The company's results statement said that "the improving global economic background enabled the group to deliver a good financial performance despite a number of exceptional external events".

BAA said last month that the disruption caused by the snow in December had cost it £24m.

Chief executive Colin Matthews said the company expected to deliver a strong increase in profits and cash flow in 2011.