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British Airways to lay off 4,900 workers

(UPI Photo Files)
(UPI Photo Files) | License Photo

LONDON, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- A disastrous summer is prompting British Airways to lay off about 4,900 workers, or 12 percent of its staff, company officials say.

The job cuts -- which surpass the 3,700-layoff target previously announced -- come after BA announced it had lost $485 million in the six months ending Sept. 30, The Times of London reported Saturday.

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Analysts told the newspaper the airline's weak six-month performance has put it on track to eclipse its previous record one-year loss of $666 million set last year and would likely have a hard time returning to profitability before 2011.

"We see a return to profitability in 2011, but only just and only if cost cutting plans succeed," Nick Cunningham, aviation analyst at Evolution Securities, told The Times.

The figures showed BA's revenues were down 13.7 percent in the past six months, prompting chief executive William Walsh to say: "The challenge to the business and to the industry is the big decline in revenues we are seeing. We will see a fall of over ($1.7 billion) in revenue this year and that is largely on the back of the recession as business travel is less and average fares have come down."

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