Post-Christmas boost for BA’s owner

The owner of British Airways has forecast a big jump in profits this year as it benefits from the "r

The owner of British Airways has forecast a big jump in profits this year as it benefits from the "remarkable" turnaround of Spanish carrier Iberia. - Credit: PA

The owner of British Airways has posted a profit in the post-Christmas quarter for the first time since it acquired Spanish carrier Iberia in 2011.

International Airlines Group (IAG) managed a surplus of 25 million euros (£18million) after a big improvement in trading at both BA and Iberia and the benefit of Easter trading, which was in April the previous year.

IAG now expects annual operating profits in excess of 2.2 billion euros (£1.6billion), which would compare with 1.39 billion euros (£1 billion) in 2014.

The improved results for the group’s traditionally weakest trading quarter come as IAG drums up support for its £1bn bid to buy Aer Lingus.

The board of the Dublin-based carrier is prepared to accept an offer but progress hinges on major shareholders Ryanair and the Irish Government.

With currency movements and the earlier Easter helping its performance, IAG said passenger revenues increased 12.3% to 4.1 billion euros (£2.95bn).

British Airways made a profit of 117 million euros (£84.3m), up from a loss of 5 million euros a year earlier. Iberia’s deficit was cut in half to 55 million euros (£39.6m) and low-cost arm Vueling narrowed its loss to 29 million euros (£20.9m).

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Fuel costs decreased 11% due to lower oil prices and the introduction of more efficient planes.

Iberia’s restructuring has seen 2,500 staff leave the airline under a voluntary redundancy programme, while salaries were reduced by between 11% and 18%. The group employs a total of 60,000 people.