Business

Tuesday 6 December 2016

IAG boss Willie Walsh bags £6.5m pay packet as profits soar in year of Aer Lingus deal

Roger Baird

Published 18/03/2016 | 08:03

IAG chief executive Willie Walsh briefed investors. Photo: PA
IAG chief executive Willie Walsh briefed investors. Photo: PA

The boss of the owner of British Airways and Aer Lingus took home £6.5m (€8.3m) last year after more than doubling the group's profits in 2015.

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International Airlines Group (IAG) said in its annual report that chief executive Willie Walsh saw his total pay package lift by 1.6pc compared with a year ago, while the airline firm saw its full-year operating profit jump by 125pc to €2.3bn, following a bumper year of strong demand and low fuel costs.

The firm also completed the purchase of Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus last year for €1.4bn in a protracted deal that involved buying shares from the Irish government and budget airline Ryanair, who owned a stake in the flag carrier.

The addition of Aer Lingus sales to the group also boosted profits last year.

Mr Walsh said in the annual report: "Aer Lingus is a fantastic addition to IAG. It's a very efficient, well-run airline and it's operating in an environment where it has very strong growth opportunities.

"It's got an excellent network on transatlantic routes, which is one of the key areas we've always said IAG would focus on."

The group, which also owns Iberia and Vueling airlines, was last year also able to pay its first half-year dividend since the group was formed five years ago.

IAG was formed out of a merger of IAG and Iberia in 2011.

Mr Walsh is paid a basic £850,000 annual salary, although the largest parts of his pay package include a £4 million long-term award that became payable, and £1.4 million annual incentive payment.

The IAG boss has spent the past few years extracting productivity gains across the group's airlines.

The group said last year Mr Walsh led a cost-cutting programme that made €800m of savings, beating the original target by €120m.

In recent years, IAG has fared better than its main European rivals - Lufthansa and Air France-KLM - which have been hit by strikes over cost-cutting plans, and heightened competition from Middle Eastern and budget rivals.

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