Sunday 25 February 2018

Profits at Aer Lingus owner IAG hike five-fold as fuel costs fall

IAG chief Willie Walsh. Photo: Reuters
IAG chief Willie Walsh. Photo: Reuters

John Mulligan and Michael Cogley

Losses at Aer Lingus during the first quarter of the year nearly halved to €26m from €48m in the first three months of 2015, according to owner IAG.

The first quarter is typically loss-making for Aer Lingus, which generates the bulk of its profits during the peak summer season. IAG acquired Aer Lingus last year for €1.36bn.

The sharp fall in losses at Aer Lingus comes as the economy here improves falling fuel costs.

IAG chief financial officer Enrique Dupuy this morning described Aer Lingus, which is headed by chief executive Stephen Kavanagh, as an “lean and efficient” airline.

Capacity at Aer Lingus will rise 10.8pc this year.

Parent International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) has benefited from falling fuel prices in the first quarter of its financial year as its operating profits increased five-fold to €155m.

The firm, which is headed up by chief executive Willie Walsh, reported a 3.5pc decrease on passenger unit revenue and a rise of 1.3pc in non-fuel unit costs.

However, IAG's fuel bill plummeted 23.4pc in the first three months of the year and down 30.4pc on a constant currency basis.

The company's cash pile at the end of March stood at €6.82bn, which is up €968m on the end of 2015.

Chief executive Willie Walsh said the first quarter was a "good performance" for the airlines group.

“January and February’s revenue was in line with Q4 2015 trends. March revenue was affected by the timing of Easter and the Brussels terrorist attacks with the latter continuing into quarter two.

“Our productivity has improved 5.9pc and the underlying non-fuel unit costs performance continued to show improvement across our companies," Mr Walsh said.

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