The International Airlines Group (IAG) has posted a strong set of financial results for the third quarter of the year, with operating profits surging to more than US$900 million.
The Anglo-Spanish company, which operates British Airways, Iberia, Iberia Express, Vueling and bmi, generated an operating profit of EUR690 million (US$922m) for the three months to 30 September 2013 – 156% higher than the EUR270m generated in the same period last year.
Company revenues climbed 6.9% to EUR5.41 billion, including a 10.4% jump in passenger revenues, to EUR4.80bn. Staff and fuel costs – the group’s two highest expenses – declined 7.5% and 3.0% respectively, for an overall 1.5% reduction in operating costs, to EUR4.72bn.
For the first nine months of the year, IAG’s operating profit totalled EUR657m, compared to just EUR17m in the same period in 2012. Revenues climbed 3.9% to EUR14.11bn.
Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive, called the figures “strong results”. With reference to struggling Spanish national carrier Iberia, Walsh said the operating profit of EUR74m was “an improved performance, bearing in mind it’s the strongest quarter of the year”.
“However, the airline must continue to implement its restructuring plan and reach agreement on productivity changes to bring about long-term sustainable profits and growth,” he added.
BA’s operating profit rose 78% to EUR477 million, and Walsh said the UK flag carrier “continues to benefit from a strong London and trans-Atlantic market, as well as a EUR100 million revenue bounce-back from the Olympic effect last year.”
In the first nine months of the year, IAG has now carried 50.45m passengers, 21.6% more than the same period in 2012. The group also added 54 new aircraft to its combined fleet during the last 12 months, while average cabin load factors increased 0.5 percentage points to a strong 81.4%.