British Airways shares surge on labour dispute win, Ryanair load factors dip - share wrap

British Airways (BA) shares soared 6% on Friday as the airline announced it approved voluntary redundancies for 300 additional office staff by the end of May. Shares had traded as much as 15% higher after the airline won a Court of Appeal case brought by pilots over holiday pay, but sentiment eased during afternoon trade.

The airline is predicting an operating loss for the year ended 31-Mar-09 of GBP150 million, in line with previous guidance, but that is before severance costs that are now expected to reach GBP75 million. It removed 480 management positions through voluntary redundancies in Dec-2008.

BA's traffic (RPKs) fell in March by 7.3% year-on-year, including a 13% reduction in premium demand and a 6% fall in economy traffic. Market conditions "remain challenging", the carrier said in a statement, although the figures are better than February, when the carrier reported an 8.3% reduction in RPKs, including a 20% fall in premium travel.

Even with Friday's rise, British Airways' stock is down 8% this year.

Ryanair meanwhile reports passenger numbers rose 5% in March to 4.7 million, although load factors eased 2 ppts to 77%. Investors were unhappy, sending the carrier's shares down 3.1%.

easyJet shares also eased on Friday, by 0.9%.

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European selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 03-Apr-09