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London Eye loses 8m

Leigh Hatts

The British Airways London Eye, the giant observation wheel on the South Bank, has announced a loss of £8m in its first year of operation.

The loss comes despite higher than expected visitor figures at the London Eye, which employs more than 200 people.

A BA spokeman said: "The advantage to us is the promotional aspect the wheel brings", with the attraction expected to break even "in the medium term".

The figures show that the attraction, valued at 74m, made an operating profit of 5.46m in the first 10 months it was open but interest charges on loans supplied by British Airways and Tussauds Attractions sent the operation to a pre-tax loss of 8m for the year.

The London Eye has planning permission for five years but the company expects it to be extended for a further 20 years.

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