BAA narrows losses at London airports in 2011

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UK airports operator BAA saw full-year pre-tax losses at its two London airports, Heathrow and Stansted, narrow by 19.2% to £255.8 million ($402.2 million) in 2011.

Revenue improved 9.9% to £2.28 billion and operating profit grew to £572.1 million from £548.7 million in 2010. Total passenger numbers at the two airports increased by 3.7% to 87.4 million.

London Heathrow saw its operating profit improve to £526.8 million from £482 million in 2010. Revenue at the London hub grew to £2.05 billion from £1.84 billion, while passenger numbers were up 5.5% to 69.4 million.

London Stansted fared less well, seeing its operating profit fall to £39.4 million from £61 million the previous year. Passenger numbers at Stansted dropped 2.8% to 18 million. Revenue improved to £234.4 million from £229.6 million.

"The group's financial position has been strengthened with £3 billion in new financing completed in the last 12 months and we have fully repaid our £4.4 billion bank bridge loan nearly two years early," says BAA chief executive Colin Matthews.

"We are pleased that the UK government recognised the importance of a successful hub airport to UK economic growth in its autumn statement. All potential solutions to the UK's lack of hub airport capacity have their pros and cons and all should be on the table to ensure the right solution is found for both the short and long term."

BAA says it is "currently considering its position" following the loss of its appeal against the UK Competition Commission's ruling that it must sell Stansted. It has also been ordered to sell one of its Scottish airports and has "commenced its disposal process" of Edinburgh Airport.

There are reported to be four bidders in the running for the Scottish airport.