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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April, 2003, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
BMI flies into the red
bmi plane
The UK airline BMI has reported its first pre-tax loss for 10 years after the carrier was hit by the wider downturn in the industry.

The airline posted a pre-tax loss of 19.6m for 2002, compared with a 12.4m profit the previous year.

Chairman Sir Michael Bishop described 2002 as an "exceptionally tough trading environment" and warned that 2003 also promised to be a "tough year".

But the airline did manage some good news, reporting a record 7.5 million passengers during 2002.

Signs of an upturn?

Like most airlines, BMI faced a struggle for business in the post-September 11 downturn in air travel, which was made worse by the global economic slowdown.

The run-up to the war in Iraq also hit confidence in air travel, but BMI said recent signs had been hopeful.

"The very recent signs of a slight upturn in confidence and bookings following the latest developments in Iraq may provide the prospect of a return to a more stable operating environment in the second half of the year," Sir Michael said.

He added that the airline's "vigorous cost-cutting programme" and greater efficiency would put BMI "on a sound footing in volatile market conditions".

BMI said the growth of its budget airline BMIbaby was "encouraging" with 700,000 passengers carried last year, and three million expected in 2003.

Airline figures climb to the sky
03 Jan 03  |  England

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