British Airways owner IAG returned to profit for the first time since the start of the pandemic

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International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), the owner of Ritesh Airways, has returned to profit for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The group said it made an operating profit of 293 million euros (£245 million) between April and June, compared with a loss of 967 million euros (£810 million) in the same period last year.

It expects operating profit before extraordinary items to remain “positive” overall for 2022 if there are “no further setbacks related to material impacts from COVID-19 and government-imposed restrictions or geopolitical developments.” “.

“This result supports our outlook for full-year operating profitability,” said IAG boss Luis Gallego (IAG/PA). / PA Media

IAG chief executive Luis Gallego said: “In the second quarter we returned to profitability for the first time since the start of the pandemic following a strong recovery in demand across all our airlines.

“This result supports our outlook for full-year operating profitability.

“Our performance reflects a significant increase in capacity, load factor and production compared to the first quarter.

“Premium leisure remains strong, while business travel continues its steady recovery across all airlines.”

IAG said the “challenging operational environment at Heathrow” meant British Airways’ capacity was limited to 69.1% of pre-pandemic levels between April and June.

This compares with 57.4 percent in the previous three months.

Heathrow has limited the number of passengers departing each day (Steve Parsons/PA) / PA Wire

The airline, which has canceled tens of thousands of flights this summer, plans to increase its capacity by 75 percent between July and October.

IAG projects around 80% of overall passenger capacity between July and October and 85% for the final quarter of the year.

This is a 5% decrease for the second half of 2022 compared to previous guidance, which the group said was “mainly due to challenges at Heathrow”.

On 12 July, Heathrow introduced a cap of 100,000 daily departures until 11 September due to staff shortages in ground handling and elsewhere, leading to further flight cancellations.

Mr Gallego said: “Our industry is facing historic challenges due to unprecedented scaling in operations, particularly in the UK where Heathrow Airport’s operational challenges are acute.

“Our airline teams are focused on increasing operational flexibility and improving the customer experience.

“I would like to thank the customers who were affected for their loyalty and patience and our colleagues for their hard work and commitment.

“We will continue to work with the industry to address these issues as aviation emerges from its biggest-ever crisis.”

Mr Gallego told reporters that British Airways had reduced its summer schedule at Heathrow because it realized its plan would be “impossible because of the lack of people there”.

He continued: “We decided to limit capacity to allow operational flexibility and protect our customers.

“I think it was the right move.

“We were concerned because the estimates of the number of people at Heathrow did not match the forecast and demand we were expecting.”

Asked how long he thought the restrictions would last at Heathrow, Mr Gallego replied: “We hope to have a more stable operation before the end of the year.

“I think with all the airline capacity adjustments, we are improving the flexibility of operations at the airport.

“So I hope that if everything goes well, we will be in a better position at the end of the year.”