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A British Airways plane takes off from Heathrow Airport - 


MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: British airlines are calling for the UK's main airport operator to pay up. It wants the operator to absorb some of the losses the airlines have suffered since the current security crisis began. Heightened security following news of the alleged bomb plot last week in London led to long delays and cancellations. From London. Stephen Beard reports.

STEPHEN BEARD: British airline losses since last week have been soaring. No figures yet but analysts say we could be talking about several hundred million dollars.

British Airways and Virgin are calling on the main airport operator BAA to pay compensation.

They blame the company for mishandling the crisis, forcing some of the carriers to cancel more than 20% of their flights.

Paul Charles of Virgin Atlantic says BAA has fallen down on the job.

PAUL CHARLES: They have a duty obviously to supply an efficient service at each airport. I think the airlines quite rightly will be asking themselves from today, have they received that efficient service?

The airlines' answer is a resounding no.

The boss of British Airways said the situation at Heathrow was like a bad dream at Disneyland.

But the airport operator said that in Britain's biggest ever aviation security crisis his company has done a splendid job.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.