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SOARING OIL PRICES have forced British Airways to cancel some frequencies on business routes and suspend expansion plans this winter.
One of the eight daily Heathrow-JFK flights will be removed from the schedule, together with a planned third daily Los Angeles departure. Some frequencies will be cut from the Hong Kong timetable and Tokyo Narita will be only once daily.
At Gatwick, a number of departures on Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow routes are suspended and Newquay, Sarajevo, Dresden and Poznan disappear from schedules. However, BA is going ahead with the start of its daily Gatwick-JFK service on October 27.
Overall, BA will reduce capacity by 3.1 per cent this winter. The airline said it was confident that cancellations at Heathrow would not affect schedules that business travellers use.
BA announced a fi rst quarter fall in profi ts by almost 87 per cent, down to £35 million compared to £266 million during the same period in 2007. "We are in the worst trading environment the industry has ever faced," said CEO Willie Walsh. "The combination of unprecedented oil prices, economic slowdown and weaker consumer confidence has led to substantially lower first quarter profits." He added that BA's fuel bill was expected to top £3 billion this year - the equivalent of more than £8 million every day. BUSINESS EYE