British Airways' New Airways Pension Scheme, Hounslow, England, had a deficit of nearly £2.1 billion ($4 billion) as of March 31, an increase of £101 million ($190.5 million) from a year earlier, the airline said in a news release. The scheme, which is the airline's primary pension plan, had £5.7 billion in assets as of March 31, John Birch, managing director of British Airways Pension Trustees, said in an interview. In March, the airline issued a proposal to curb the shortfall that would include raising the retirement age, a slower accrual rate, and caps on benefit increases and pension-related pay increases.
The deficit "reflects low long-term interest rates and has gone up despite the company's increased contributions and strong equity markets," CFO Keith Williams said in the release.
Cash contributions to the scheme increased to £246 million for the year ended March 31, from £236 million in the previous year, according to the release.
The airline's British Airways Pension Scheme, which was frozen in 1984, has £6.6 billion in assets and no deficit.