British Airways owner IAG predicts bounce back to profitability on return of global travel

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British Airways owner International Airlines Group (IAG) today said it believes the easing of global restrictions and the return of global travel will see it bounce back to profitability.

The firm – formed through the merger of Iberia and British Airways in 2011 – said its Q1 2022 passenger numbers were 65 per cent those seen in 2019, up from rates of 58 per cent in the previous quarter.

The Anglo-Spanish airline said it expects rising passenger numbers to drive profitability in the remainder of 2022, as it posted a €731m loss for the first quarter, compared to a €1.08bn loss over the same period last year.

The company said it currently expects passenger numbers to increase sharply in coming months, as it forecast rates would be 80 per cent of 2019 levels in Q2, 85 per cent in Q3, and 90 per cent in Q4.

The firm said higher passenger numbers were in part being driven by the highest levels of business travel since the start of the pandemic alongside strong demand for premium leisure.

The aviation giant blamed omicron on a higher number of cancellations in January and February but said it had not seen any impact on passenger number from the war in Ukraine.

AIG chief executive Luis Gallego said: “Demand is recovering strongly in line with our previous expectations. We expect to be profitable from the second quarter onwards and for the full year.”

“The welcome removal of UK’s stringent travel restrictions, combined with strong pent-up demand, have contributed to a steep ramp up in capacity.”

Business Matters Magazine

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