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Last Updated: Friday, 1 February 2008, 18:59 GMT
Strong profits at British Airways
British Airways planes
Heathrow's new Terminal 5 is due to open in less than eight weeks
British Airways has reported healthy profits for the last nine months of 2007, despite rising fuel costs and the consumer slowdown.

Pre-tax profits came in at 788m, up 34.9% from the same period of 2006.

Fuel costs in the first six months of the period fell by 36m, but they then rose 72m in the last three months.

Shares slumped 4.2% though, as analysts worried that an economic slowdown in the US and UK might hit sales of longhaul, premium class tickets.

Falling costs

BA is planning a twice-daily luxury service from City Airport to New York with only 32 seats, starting in 2009.

Pre-tax profits for the last three months of 2007 came in at 195m, which is 72.6% up from 113m in the same period of 2006.

"This is another good set of results despite soaring fuel costs and difficulties in the market," said British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh.

Workers at the testing of Terminal 5

"The opening of Terminal 5 is now less than two months away and the public trials and previews for our Executive Club members have been very successful."

BA hopes the new terminal will improve punctuality and baggage performance.

BA's statement said that long-haul premium traffic was still strong but that on short-haul flights it had weakened.

It also said that non-premium traffic on North Atlantic routes remains soft.

BA added that the weakening US dollar had contributed to a 101m fall in its costs over the nine months.

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