British Airways owner logs doubling in profits

Aer Lingus reported an operating profit of €104m in six months

Aer Lingus reported an operating profit of €104m in six months

The airline group, which owns Aer Lingus, Vueling and Iberia, said strikes were causing disruption for customers and hurting the Spanish economy.

The owner of Iberia, Vueling, Aer Lingus and Level reported second quarter operating profit before exceptional items of 835 million euros (Dh3.55 billion), up 6 per cent on a year ago but slightly missing a 848m euro consensus analyst forecast.

For the half-year, basic earnings per share surged 141.6% on a statutory basis to 68.3 cents.

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One-off gains from a pensions shake-up helped profits at British Airways owner IAG double in the first half of the year but the airline operator warned air traffic control strikes in France were weighing on its finances.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of the British Airways and Iberia owner, also told BBC radio that IAG remained interested in low-priced, long-haul carrier Norwegian Air after two failed approaches earlier this year. Low-priced unit Vueling incurred an additional $23 million (€20 million) of disruption costs as a result. While its unit revenue result (RASK), a measure of pricing, was up 2.3 per cent overall, the North American portion was down 0.9 per cent.

It also started flights from Paris Orly to Montreal and Guadaloupe.

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At current fuel prices and exchange rates, IAG still expects its operating profit for 2018 to show an increase year-on-year.

On 17 July, Level launched short-haul operations from Vienna, where it will eventually fly to 14 European destinations - including Gatwick - with four A321 aircraft. IAG said two new A330-200s will be added to its fleet, bringing a total of seven aircraft in Paris and Barcelona next year.

IAG bought a small stake in Norwegian earlier this year with the intention of discussing a full takeover.

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"We're not in any active discussions with them at the moment", he pointed out, adding, however, that the group continued to look at Norwegian and continued "to have some interest in it".

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