The International Airlines group, which includes British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus, said a “significant recovery is underway” in its third quarter financial results released today.
Although operating losses, at 452 million euros in the third quarter, were halved compared to previous quarters, the group is heading towards a loss of 3 billion euros for the whole of 2021.
Passenger capacity in the third quarter was 43.4% in 2019, up from 21.9% in the second quarter, and the group plans to operate around 60% of its capacity before Covid in the fourth quarter. This would translate to a 2021 capacity of 37% of 2019 levels.
The group has been supported by the reopening of the United States to fully vaccinated passengers from the United Kingdom and much of Europe from Monday, November 8.
“The full reopening of the Transatlantic Travel Corridor from Monday is a pivotal moment for our industry,” said Luis Gallego, Managing Director of IAG. “British Airways flies to more destinations in the United States than any other transatlantic carrier and we are delighted to be able to fly our customers once again. “
He continued, “Long-haul traffic has been a major revenue driver, with bookings recovering faster than short-haul as winter approaches. Premium leisure is performing well at both Iberia and British Airways and there are early signs of a recovery in business travel. “
Gallego said the group is preparing to increase its capacity and ensure it is ready to return to profitability in 2022, as well as create new opportunities for growth.
“This includes initiatives such as our new short-haul operation at Gatwick, the expansion of Vueling to Paris-Orly, Aer Lingus services from Manchester to the United States and the Caribbean, and our new maintenance model in Barcelona” , said Gallego.
Iberia and Vueling continue to be the best performers in the group, the former returning to profitability.