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BAA report 0.82bn loss following Gatwick sale

Airports operator BAA reported an 8.3% increase in revenue for 2009 at their London airports, despite falling passenger numbers and the sale of Gatwick.

The group has pledged to invest £1bn over the coming year, and says its performance at Heathrow has outperformed its competitors, with smaller falls in passeneger numbers compared to other ‘hub’ airports.

While Gatwick was sold for £1.5bn in December last year, and the group says it suffered a £277.3M loss as a result, a further £217.8M loss from increased pension scheme deficits, and a further £117M loss from: “fair value losses on financial instruments”

BAA Chief Executive Colin Matthews said: “BAA made substantial progress in 2009, against a difficult economic backdrop. We sold Gatwick airport, returned to the debt capital markets and our future regulation is clearer.

“Our operational performance is improving and we will invest more than £1bn this year to upgrade our airports.

“Our financial performance remains resilient, especially at Heathrow, which benefits from its position as the UK’s only hub airport, higher retail spending by passengers and strong cost control.

“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,” he said.

Underlying profit grew for the group, up 17.1% over the year while passenger numbers fell by 3.8%. Traffic at Heathrow fell just 1.5%.

BAA’s net debt reduced by 8% from £9.4bn to £8.6bn between 2008 and 2009.

BAA remains in dispute with the Competition Commission over whether to sell Stansted airport.

Stansted reported 20M passengers in 2009, while Heathrow reported 65M.

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