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Airline to boost services as Q2 operating profit rises 17pc

AER Lingus is not planning to relaunch any services to the west coast of the United States, but will boost capacity to other US destinations next summer.

Speaking to the Irish Independent¸ chief executive Christoph Mueller said that its existing US services "need additional capacity next summer" and confirmed the airline is still exploring the possibility of launching a service to Canada.

He's also hopeful that Aer Lingus could launch a six-times a day service between Heathrow and Edinburgh by next spring.

The airline is also considering other routes from Heathrow, possibly to Belfast, using extra slots it hopes to acquire. The airline will also have wi-fi internet services on all its transatlantic services by March next year, while passengers on all services will soon be able to pre-order their meals.

Aer Lingus yesterday reported a €31.7m operating profit in the second quarter, up 17.8pc year-on-year. For the first half, its operating loss narrowed to €4.4m from €26.8m.

The airline was helped by higher yields on its short and long-haul services. Revenues climbed 6.7pc in the second quarter to €374.8m and by 10.1pc in the first half to €626.3m.

But pre-tax profit during Q2 tumbled 73.3pc to €11.4m as the carrier shouldered exceptional items including €11.7m in restructuring costs, €8.2m of which relates to shifting maintenance activities from Shannon to Dublin. Exceptional costs also include the ongoing bid defence.

Mr Mueller said he's confident on the second half of this year and predicted operating profit will be at least €49.1m for the year -- the figure it achieved in 2011.

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