BAA, one of the U.K.’s largest airports operator, reported first quarter operating profit grew 15.1 percent from a year ago to $372 million, driven by strong traffic growth and higher landing charges at London Heathrow.
BAA’s revenue was up 11.5 percent at $865 million in the three months to March 31 compared with $775 million in the same period in 2011.
There was a pre-tax loss of $372.4 million, against $340.5 million a year ago, as the company’s pension scheme swung from a surplus at the end of 2011 to a deficit on March 31.
BAA on Monday agreed to the $1.3 billion sale of Edinburgh, one of its three Scottish airports, to Global Infrastructure Partners. U.K. competition regulators pushed the sale, who previously ordered the sale of London Gatwick. That airport was eventually sold, also to U.S.-based GIF, for $2.4 billion in 2009.
BAA, owned by Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial, is currently appealing an order to immediately dispose of London Stansted.
London Heathrow remained Europe’s third largest cargo hub behind Frankfurt and Paris Charles de Gaulle in the first quarter even as freight traffic dipped 1.7 percent to 359,103 metric tons. This just piped Amsterdam Schiphol where first quarter cargo fell 3 percent to 358,220 tons.
London Stansted, a freighter and express hub, saw cargo decline 0.8 percent to 50,461 tons.