Speed of Aer Lingus rebuilding Irish operations still has ‘a lot of variables’ – CEO

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Ellie Donnelly

The speed at which Aer Lingus rebuilds its Irish operations still has “a lot of variables,” according to its CEO Lynne Embleton.

The Covid crisis has seen the airline reduce the number of flights it operates to and from Ireland.

Ms Embleton said damage was done to the airline from policies put in place by the Irish government. Aer Lingus needs to rebuild the damage to its balance sheet, she said.

The airline has “good intent” when it comes to growing its Irish operations but it would not commit to growing the operations here until it has more certainty about Covid restrictions as well as other factors.

Aer Lingus made an operating loss of €192m for the first half of 2021.

The airline’s capacity continued to be driven by a demand for cargo in the first six months of the year, with its passenger load factors averaging 20pc, according to interim results from its parent IAG.

Passenger and cargo revenue at Aer Lingus were almost identical during the period, at €33m and €31m respectively.

During the period IAG drew down €75m for Aer Lingus from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund. Aer Lingus can draw down a further €75m from the fund.

Aer Lingus said it is looking at less than 40pc capacity for quarter three when compared to 2019.

IAG reported an operating loss of €2bn for the first half of the year, compared to a €4bn operating loss in the same period last year.

Passenger revenue for the six-months was €1.1bn at the airline group, a decrease of 72pc on the corresponding period in 2020. Total revenue, including cargo, for the six-month period was €2.2bn, down from €5.3bn in the first half of 2020.