British Airways has announced a pre-tax loss of £50m in the three months to December 2009.

The loss is down from £122m it lost in the same quarter in 2008.

The results are better than analysts had predicted.

Chief executive Willie Walsh, said: “These results highlight the impact of permanent changes across the company on our costs. Those changes, combined with capacity reductions and external spending cuts, mean operating costs are down by 10.5 percent and show that we’ve adapted quickly to the new business realities created by the global recession.”

“While we are on the right track, we still expect to make record losses this year. Permanent structural change is being introduced in all areas and will return us to sustained profitability.”

“We are working with our staff, their unions and the trustees about solutions to address our £3.7 billion pension funds’ deficit and are discussing a range of changes to future pension benefits.

“In November, we signed a binding Memorandum of Understanding with Iberia for a proposed merger and are on track to finalise the merger agreement by the end of the year.

“We remain confident of receiving regulatory approval for our proposed transatlantic joint business with American Airline and Iberia.”