Aer Lingus profits triple after costs slashed

Aer Lingus today reported a tripling in annual profits on the back of ongoing cost cuts.

The Irish airline saw pre-tax profits rise to €84.4 million in 2011 against €27.2 million the previous year. Operating profit was however €49.1 million compared to €52.5 million in 2010.

Revenues were up by 6% to €1.3 billion with the average income per passenger rising by 4.8% to €122.27, helped by the introduction of higher fares.

Aer Lingus carried more than 9.5 million passengers last year, up by 1.8%. The results demonstrated “the success of the changes we have made to our business,” the airline said.

Chief executive Christoph Mueller said that the increased profits had been achieved “against a difficult backdrop of non-controllable fuel price inflation, increased airport charges and challenging demand conditions in our primary markets”.

The airline expects its main markets to remain very competitive this year, and predicts that fuel prices are set to remain at their current levels for the foreseeable future.

“Our expectation for 2012 is that the group will remain significantly profitable, albeit below 2011 levels,” the airline said in its results statement.

Aer Lingus said the level of people using Irish airports last year was significantly lower than the peak traffic volumes seen in 2008. The Irish market continues to be dominated by leisure travel which is particularly exposed to adverse trends in ”personal expenditure levels”.

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