BAA reveals 13m airport disruption cost


British airports operator BAA has said it lost £13 million as a result of last month's large-scale disruptions caused by heightened security arrangements.

The privatised firm, bought by Spanish service sector firm Ferrovial for £10 billion in June, said that overall passenger numbers were down by five per cent on forecast predictions.

It blamed "a number of 'one-off' costs specifically related to the immediate period following the introduction of the new security measures" for the shortfall, referring to the massive delays caused by the alleged foiling of a plot to blow up a number of transatlantic airliners in midair by British police.

Overall passenger numbers rose by 0.3 per cent year-on-year, BAA said, although it pointed out that figures for August 2005 were unusually low because British Airways (BA) was encountering disruption following a dispute with its catering firm, Gate Gourmet.

The UK domestic market was however hit by a 7.6 per cent decline, while north Atlantic traffic fell by 3.3 per cent.

BAA's £13 million loss is substantially more than the £3 million of lost earnings reported by budget airline Ryanair, which last month announced its intention to sue the government for the sum because, it claims, the security restrictions it enforced were overly stringent.

But the BAA shortfall is small compared to BA's claimed £40 million loss, which it said included "hotel accommodation, catering and baggage repatriation" in addition to reduced forward bookings and refunds to passengers who were unable to travel on cancelled flights.

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