International Airline Group made a profit for the first time in the traditionally weakest first quarter of the year.
Operating profit for the three months to March 31 came in at €25 million, an improvement of €175 million from the loss incurred in the same period last year as capacity rose by 5% and revenue went up by 12% to €4.7 billion.
British Airways made a profit of €117 million against a €5 million loss.
Iberia’s quarterly losses were halved from €111 million to €55 million while Vueling’s loss was reduced to €29 million from €30 million.
IAG expects to achieve an operating profit of more than €2.2 billion for the full year.
The rate of profit improvement in the second quarter will be slower than the first three months due to the timing of Easter, and an adverse year-on-year fuel price, IAG said.
IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said: “IAG made an operating profit of €25 million compared to a €150 million operating loss last year.
“This is IAG’s first ever quarter one operating profit in what is traditionally the weakest quarter of the year. There was a strong improvement both at a group level and with all three airlines.
“In particular, there was a consistent positive performance in our key North American market.”
He added: “As before, fuel costs benefitted by operating more efficient aircraft and lower fuel prices though hedging and significant currency headwinds reduced the positive impact of lower oil prices.
“Cost discipline across our airlines continued through increased productivity and supplier cost savings, enabling us to improve our operating margin while growing capacity by 5%.”
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