IAG profits soar as Iberia moves into black

British Airways parent International Airlines Group (IAG) saw operating profits soar by more than 80% last year as Iberia moved into the black.

IAG reported an operating profit of almost €1.4 billion against €770 million in 2013.

The group, which is attempting to acquire Aer Lingus for £1 billion, expects operating profits to rise to more than €2.2 billion this year, based on capacity growth of approximately 5.5%.

Iberia’s 2014 operating profit of €50 million compared with an operating loss of €166 million in the previous year following a €260 million restructuring involving more than 4,500 job losses.

IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said: “The airline’s turnaround has been remarkable, both financially and operationally, and we’re very proud of its achievement especially its strong cost discipline.

“In 2013 we said our intention was for Iberia to break even in 2014 and it has fulfilled that promise.”

BA’s operating profit came in at €1.2 billion, up from €762 million in 2013, “which shows significant progress towards its long term targets,” Walsh said.

IAG’s Spanish low cost carrier Vueling’s operating profit edged up by €2 million to €141 million with the airline focusing on flexible growth, according to Walsh.

Walsh said: “We’re reporting strong full year results with an operating profit before exceptional items of €1,390 million which is up 80.5%. Total revenue was up 8% [to €20 billion] with non-fuel costs up 7% and fuel costs up 0.6% on capacity growth of 9.3%.

“We achieved a strong unit cost performance, down 4.1%, through increased productivity, supplier cost savings and lower fuel unit costs. The latter was boosted by the introduction of more efficient aircraft into our fleet and lower fuel prices in the last quarter of the year.

“However, the positive effect of the oil price reduction has been partly offset by hedging and significant currency impact.

“In the quarter, we made an operating profit before exceptional items of €260 million which is up from €113 million last year.

“Revenue for the quarter was up 9.9%. Non-fuel costs were up 10.5% and fuel costs decreased by 0.4% on capacity growth of 5.8%.”

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