Aer Lingus owners enjoy fivefold profit boost

IAG benefitting from plumetting fuel costs

International Airlines Group (IAG) took advantage of extremely low fuel prices to post a five-fold increase in its operating profits for the first quarter of its financial year.

The firm, lead by chief executive Willie Walsh, had operating profits of €155 million, despite a 3.5% in passenger unit revenue and a rise of 1.3% in non-fuel unit costs.

Calling it a "good performance", Walsh said:
"January and February’s revenue was in line with Q4 2015 trends. March revenue was affected by the timing of Easter and the Brussels terrorist attacks with the latter continuing into quarter two.

"Our productivity has improved 5.9pc and the underlying non-fuel unit costs performance continued to show improvement across our companies".

There was good news, too, for Aer Lingus. Having purchased the airline for €1.36bn last September, IAG is reporting that an improving Irish economy and falling fuel costs saw its losses almost halved.

Losses at Aer Lingus were down from €48m in the first quarter of 2015 to just €26m for the first three months of this year.

Typically, Q1 is a loss-maker for Aer Lingus, with the majority of their profits generated during the summer season.

Capacity at the airline is set to rise 10.8% in 2016, with IAG chief financial officer Enrique Dupuy de Lôme praising Aer Lingus as "lean and efficient" this morning.