Aer Lingus has reported a €61.1m operating profit for 2013, a near 12pc drop on the amount it generated in 2012.
Chief executive Christoph Mueller has also warned that the airline won’t postpone business improvement initiatives any longer while it waits for the resolution of a pensions issue that has threatened to cripple the country’s three main airports and Aer Lingus in coming weeks.
The profit reported this morning for 2013 was in line with a revised forecast the airline gave last September after it issued a profit warning. Up to then, the carrier had expected to deliver a €69.1m operating profit for 2013 – the same as in 2012.
But passenger traffic had been hit during the summer as people decided to stay at home to enjoy the heatwave. At the time, Aer Lingus lowered its full-year operating profit outlook from just over €69m to about €60m.
Revenue last year rose 2.3pc to €1.42bn from €1.39bn in 2012.
Long-haul revenue climbed 11.1pc to €381.6m, with passenger numbers on transatlantic routes up 12.2pc.
On short-haul services, revenue was 3.3pc lower as the network was hit by the scorching summer at home.
Mr Mueller said this morning that while he was “broadly satisfied” with the 2013 results, he said the airline “could have done better”.
He said 2013 was the first year of “significant growth” for Aer Lingus since the global economic downturn.
He added: “The absence of progress on pension matters inhibited developments on several other key matters for our business.”
Mr Mueller said the proposal to address funding difficulties at the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme represents a “viable solution”.
“However, we can no longer defer business improvement initiatives while we wait for this proposal to be implemented and we will press ahead in 2014 to focus on two key areas for our business, namely service and cost,” he said.