British Airways owner International Airlines Group today downgraded its annual earnings projections until 2020.

The group, which includes Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling, expects an average profit [EBITDA] of €5.3 billion a year, down from €5.6 billion forecast previously.

Capital expenditure will also be trimmed from €2.5 billion a year to €1.7 billion as part of long term planning goals.

Capacity growth will be about 3% a year against 3% to 4% previously anticipated.

However, IAG expects to maintain an operating profit margin of 12%-15%, a 15% return on invested capital and average growth in earnings per share of at least 12% a year.

IAG was using a capital markets day to provide the financial update today.

Shareholders were told that the group has a strong balance sheet and has no need for further deleveraging.

IAG reported a 3.1% rise in October passenger traffic with group premium traffic up by 4.7% year-on-year.