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BA posts pre-tax loss of $256.5 million

By the CNN Wire Staff
British Airways' quarterly earnings were hit by cabin crew strikes and cancelations due to volcanic ash.
British Airways' quarterly earnings were hit by cabin crew strikes and cancelations due to volcanic ash.
  • BA announces large pre-tax loss in the three months ending June 30
  • The airline cites cabin crew strikes and volcano disruption as factors
  • BA believes it will break even for the full year

London, England (CNN) -- British Airways on Friday announced a pre-tax loss of 164 million pounds ($256.5 million) for the three months ending June 30.

The airline's chief executive, Willie Walsh, cited strikes by BA cabin crews and closures from the Icelandic volcano as reasons for the loss.

In April, the eruption of a volcano beneath the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland grounded flights to and from the United Kingdom for several days amid concerns over safety.

Cabin crew staff walked off the job in series of strikes during the quarter in a dispute over pay and working conditions -- a dispute that is yet to be resolved.

In the trading statement Friday, BA said the combined disruptions cost the airline 250 million pounds ($390 million), in line with previous estimates.

The airline said its operating loss had shrunk to 72 million pounds ($112 million) compared with the same quarter last year, as it reined in costs and increased passenger and cargo yields. Fuel costs were also lower.

The airline said passenger revenue fell during the period, although yields improved "driven by a change in mix especially within cabin."

Without the disruption to flights during the period, passenger revenue would have increased by 11 percent compared with the previous year, the company said.

Looking ahead, the airline said it was maintaining its forecast to break even in the full year, despite bleak predictions from some analysts about a return to recession.

"While some economic experts are flagging the risk of a 'double-dip' recession, the steady recovery continues and, on that basis, we continue to target to break even at a profit before tax level for the full year as we move forward on our strategic objectives and continue to build on our excellent customer service," Walsh said.

CNN's Hilary Whiteman contributed to this report.