BAA narrows annual losses despite snow

Marion Dakers
HEATHROW and Stansted owner BAA narrowed its losses to £316.6m in 2010, it announced yesterday, as a rise in retail spending at its airports made up for some of the £58m hit from snow, ash and strike disruption.

BAA, owned by Spain’s Ferrovial, said revenue rose 4.9 per cent to £2.07bn last year.

Losses were cut by 61.5 per cent to £316.6m, in part due to a £218m pensions charge in 2009 that skewed the figures.

Net retail income per passenger rose 12.1 per cent to £5.29, while overall passenger numbers declined 1.8 per cent.

BAA said that stripping out one-off disruption, passenger numbers actually rose 3.4 per cent at Heathrow and fell by up to 4.8 per cent at Stansted.

“These results represent pretty solid progress given the numerous setbacks we had last year,” said BAA chief executive Colin Matthews, who turned down his bonus after criticism of the firm’s handling of the snow over Christmas.

The firm launched an inquiry into its performance during the weather. It was headed by non-executive director David Begg and is due to report in March.

Matthews said he was confident that BAA could improve on its “robust financial performance”.

“We would expect business travel to keep growing – especially to China and India given the growth there. In 2011, we expect to deliver a strong increase in profits and cash flow,” he said.

He added that the firm had not decided its next steps after a competition commission ruling that ordered BAA to sell Stansted and one of its Scottish airports.