British Airways said on Friday it had cut operating costs by around 6.6 percent since last October as it fights to slim down during the downturn, but it had seen no signs of improvement in trading conditions.

The carrier, which has been attempting to wring pay cuts from its workforce and has even axed meals on some short-haul flights, said its cost-cutting task was far from over.

Trading conditions continue to be very challenging with ... no visible signs of improvement. Our work to reduce costs is beginning to bear fruit, but with revenue still weak there is much more to be done, Chief Executive Willie Walsh told reporters, though he would not give a target for total cuts.

BA shares were up 1.3 percent in early trade at 136 pence, but down just under 25 percent for the year.

BA recently raised around 600 million pounds to shore up its balance sheet during the crisis. It said on Friday that its first-quarter operating losses was 94 million pounds ($155.5 million), on revenue down 12.2 percent at just under 2 billion, in line with preliminary estimates it gave earlier in July.

Larger rival Air France-KLM on Thursday reported first-quarter losses of nearly 500 million euros ($706 million) on a 20 percent slide in revenue and launched its own cost-cutting review, while Germany's Lufthansa said revenue for the same period was down 19.5 percent.

Willie Walsh said that although 1,400 jobs had gone in the quarter, the airline was no closer to resolving a battle with trade unions representing cabin crew and ground staff, which could end in major strike action.

The talks are still ongoing, but are in a cooling off period, Walsh told reporters.

He added that he had recently had a meeting with Antonio Vazquez, his newly appointed opposite number at Spain's Iberia , a long-standing potential merger partner.

We had a constructive meeting. It was an opportunity to congratulate him on his appointment and confirm with one another our desire to proceed with the proposed merger, Walsh said.

British Airways said its full-year fuel bill was expected to be between 450 million and 500 million pounds lower than last year, while its debt pile also fell slightly to 2.3 billion pounds.

(Reporting by John Bowker, Editing by Myles Neligan and Will Waterman)

($1=.7085 Euro)

($1=.6045 Pound)