Aer Lingus reports €27.8m loss and blames dispute
Aer Lingus has reported an operating loss of €27.8 million in the first six months of the year. Chief executive, Christoph Mueller, today blamed the losses on a cabin crew dispute at the start of the year.
The loss represents a 46% increase on the €19m loss recorded for the first six months of 2010, but the airline experienced a strong second quarter, recording a profit of €25.9 million.
"This result was underpinned by the continuing positive impact of our capacity management strategy, stabilised passenger numbers, strong yield growth and the absence of airspace closures in northern Europe which occurred in 2010," Mr Mueller said.
"Although economic conditions in Ireland remain challenging, we are pleased with the booking profile for the rest of the year and we are positive about our trading prospects for the remainder of 2011."
The IMPACT trade union dispute in January, which disrupted flights for three weeks, cost the airline €15m, he said.
Aer Lingus said passengers numbers were up 8.3% to the end of June, with an 8.4% rise in yield per passenger.
Mr Muller added: "We expect revenue growth in the second half to be broadly similar to that of the first six months.
"As a result, we are more positive about the profitability of the business in 2011 than we were at the start of the year."
Mr Mueller told Morning Ireland that fuel prices for the airline were 1.9% below last year despite a 20% increase in the price of oil.
He said that the airline had moved away from the idea of flying to the west coast of America at this time as it would generate a significant loss in doing so. But when California recovers the west coast was No1 on its list for US destinations.
In relation to flights from Ireland to Dubai, he said that the geographical position of Ireland would not support a service to Asia or the Middle East and he was looking into partnerships to service this market.
There has been a shift towards road travel in Ireland since the completion of the motorway system and the road infrastructure will probably substitute for domestic flights in Ireland, he said.