British Airways aiming to break even this year; Turkish Airlines staff to strike; SAS gains

European airline shares were mixed on Friday (21-May-2010), as fuel prices (-1.1%) continued to decline, to USD70.04. European markets fell to their lowest point in over eight months during the day on concerns over the impact of European austerity measures on economic growth.

In key markets, UK’s FTSE (-0.2%), France’s CAC (-0.1%) and Germany’s DAX (-0.7%) all ended the session lower.

British Airways aiming to break even this year

British Airways (+0.9%) gained slightly after stating it is aiming to break even in the current FY2010-11, despite reporting a pre-tax loss of GBP531 million for the 12 months ended 31-Mar-2010.

CEO, Willie Walsh, stated the carrier believes it can break even on the pretax profit level in the next financial year, but that a “permanent change” is essential to recovery. Chairman, Martin Broughman, meanwhile stated the carrier took “heart in the fact” that although revenue fell by GBP1 billion, so did costs.

See related report: British Airways completes woeful year for Europe’s Big Three. Outlook brighter

Turkish Airlines staff to strike

Turkish Airlines (-2.9%) fell after confirming the Hava Is workers union gave it notification of an intent to strike over wages and working hours. The notification triggers a 60-day negotiation period. Under Turkish law, notice of six days is required before a strike can be held. Hava Is represents 11,000 workers at the carrier, including pilots and flight attendants.

SAS gains with wider market

Elsewhere, SAS (+7.6%) retraced some of its losses earlier in the week as the OMX Stockholm 30 Index (+0.6%). Investors are increasingly looking to the country for investment, as its banks have less risk in Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Aegean Airlines (+5.0%) also gained, as the Athens Stock Exchange (+0.8%) rose, while Cimber Sterling (-4.6%) and Vueling (-4.5%) fell.

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Europe selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 21-May-2010