Page last updated at 09:17 GMT, Wednesday, 29 July 2009 10:17 UK

Losses up at BAA London airports

BAA flag outside Stansted airport
BAA currently owns seven airports in the UK

Losses have tripled at the three London airports owned by BAA, due to a larger pension fund deficit and falls in the value of Heathrow's older terminals.

The Spanish-owned company said that pre-tax losses totalled £545.7m in the first six months of 2009, compared with £135.3m a year earlier.

However, the firm said both the income from flight and retail operations had increased over the period.

It said that passengers on average spent £4.72, up from £4.39 a year ago.

BAA said it remained in discussions over the sale of Gatwick airport but said it was not reliant on a sale to repay loans due to mature in 2010.

The company has been ordered by the Competition Commission to sell three airports - Gatwick, Stansted and either Edinburgh or Glasgow airport.

It also owns Aberdeen and Southampton airports.

BAA has appealed against the decision and said a hearing was due to take place between 19 and 21 October.

BAA said its pre-tax loss reflected exceptional charges of £255.2m, mainly due to increased liabilities of its pension scheme.

However, it said that it did not anticipate making additional payments to the fund in the foreseeable future.

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