Forecast beaten

BA owner IAG back in black amid strong demand

British Airways pic

Flying high: BA’s owner is seeing a strong recovery in demand

British Airways’ parent company has returned to first quarter profit for the first time in four years and raised its forecast for annual operating profits following a strong recovery in bookings.

International Airlines Group (IAG), whose operators also include Iberia and Aer Lingus, expects capacity to be at 97% of the 2019 pre-pandemic year. It said its focus on restoring earnings on key routes was paying off.

Latin America and North America traffic has already exceeded the levels seen before the COVID-19 emergency ravaged international traffic.

Operating profit before exceptional items for Q1 came in at €9 million against a €718m loss last year and representing a positive first quarter outcome for the first time since Q1 2019.

Revenue over the first three months of the year came in at €5.9bn compared to the €3.4bn achieved in the same period last year.

Luis Gallego, IAG chief executive, said: “All our airlines performed above expectations, benefiting from robust demand and a lower fuel price in the quarter.

“We are seeing healthy forward bookings with leisure demand particularly strong while business travel continues to recover more slowly.

“As we return to more normal operations, we continue to invest in sustainability, including more fuel-efficient aircraft, and in customer experience, updating the business cabins for British Airways and Iberia.

“Over the past year we have recruited thousands of new employees across the group and strengthened our operations so that we are ready to deliver for our customers during the summer peak.”

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