City&FinanceBriefing 36 Friday, 6 November 2009 London Lite Inbrief BAhitby292m worsteverloss despite costcutsCOSTS are falling and its aircraft are flying fuller, but British Airways today said it has yet to turn a corner in the worst airline slump on record. The flag carrier reported the worst half-year loss in its history. The 292 million crash into the red, which includes 48 million of restruc- turing costs in the six months to the end of September, compares with a 52 million profit in last years same period, traditionally the airlines strong trading season. A horrendous winter last year left BA nurs- ing losses of 401 million in the financial year to the end of March, and the bet in the City is that, with another tough winter ahead, BA is heading for its worst full-year figures. However, data from the airline indicated BA is finally getting on top of the mismatch which has seen the airline flying too many aircraft at too high a cost with too few passengers. We cut our flying capacity in the summer by 3.5% which is offsetting the rate at which our passengers numbers have fallen -- 1.9% last month, said finance director Keith Williams. That means are aircraft are flying fuller with load factors at more than 80%. Operating costs were down 8.7% from 6.6% in the summer. Fuel costs were off 18%. BY roBert lea RBS loses 1.5bn but were worth saving Royal Bank of Scotland, which this week was promised another 33.5 billion of taxpayers money, today revealed it lost a further 1.5 billion in the past three months. That was 2 billion less than the loss seen in the second quarter but chief executive Stephen Hester admitted it will still take years to restore the bank, which is about to be 84% owned by the taxpayer, to full financial strength. These results show precisely why RBS is worth rescuing, he said. During the quarter every single one of our businesses was either stable or grew its customer base. But we are under no illusions, we made a loss and profitability needs to get better. Bad debt appears to have plateaued but they are still at a very high level. He added: Economic recovery is likely to be slow and the pain of economic adjustment will take years to subside. our business will reflect these issues. This week RBS signed up to a new Government-backed asset protection Scheme, which will see the total taxpayer bailout of the bank rise to 53.5 billion. Bad debts for the latest quarter were 3.3 billion, 30% down on the previous three months. So far this year RBS operating loss has climbed to 4.88 billion compared with the 2.16 billion profit it made in the first nine months of 2008. Slump hits Dyson in the pocket VACUUM cleaner tycoon Sir James Dyson took a massive pay cut last year as profits at his technology empire slipped in the recession. The multi-millionaire inventor, best known as the pioneer of the bagless vacuum cleaner, pocketed just 457,000 in 2008, having taken home 12.5 million the previous year. A further 570,000 was set aside for his pension. Pre-tax profits at his company, Dyson James, fell 4% to 85.3 million in the period. Australia Dollars 1.7264 Canada Dollars 1.6724 Denmark Kroner 7.8660 Eurozone Euro 1.0602 Hong Kong Dollars 12.1100 Japan Yen 141.8200 New Zealand Dollars 2.1378 South Africa Rand 11.7900 Sweden Kronor 11.1400 Switzerland Francs 1.5981 UAE Dirham 5.6756 United States Dollars 1.5726 TouriST rATeS DOWN 0.71 at 5124.93 fTSe 100 Dow joneS nikkei -$ UP 203.82 at 10,005.96 UP 71.91 at 9789.35 UP 0.29 at $1.6612 >>for all the latest City share prices, call 0905 817 1694* or visit thisismoney.co.uk * Calls cost 75p/min from a BT landline & last approx 1 min per quote. not all stocks are available Sales sparkle at john Lewis l Bonfire night saw demand for fireworks rocket by a quarter year- on-year at John Lewis, helping the department store chain post yet another weekly sales rise, this time up 8% on last years figures. The retailer said shoppers also splashed out on more big-ticket purchases, with televisions , beds and furniture posting impressive increases on last year. Grounded: the carrier is suffering and has cut back on flights Hermes gives Liberty a lift l Trading at Libertys on regent Street picked up in September thanks to its Hermes pop-up store, which boosted takings at its scarves department despite the unseasonably warm weather. Hermes proved a welcome boost after a slow couple of weeks at the end of august and now the store is doing better overall than at this time last year. G20 agreed on financial plans l aLiSTair darling today declared that his g20 peers agreed that it is too early to rein in the economic stimulus packages. Trillions of dollars of taxpayers money have been spent by the developed nations. But despite signs the world economy, Britain excluded, is pulling out of recession, darling said ministers were committed to keeping life-support packages. Mandelson tells eu to back off l BuSineSS Secretary Peter Mandelson launched a broadside against proposed hedge fund rules from the eu today. Mandelson said in a speech in Brussels: We have to make sure that we dont cut off important sources of venture capital. The financial Services authority estimates the rules may cost fund managers 4.6 billion.