British Airways’ parent company, International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) group, narrowed losses in the third quarter as capacity continued to improve.
Its nine months results announcement released today showed that passenger capacity in the third quarter was 43.4% of 2019 levels, up from 21.9% in the second quarter.
Current passenger capacity plans for the fourth quarter are for around 60% of 2019 capacity.
The group reported an operating loss for the third quarter of €452m ($527m) compared to a €1.92bn loss in the third quarter of 2020. The reported operating loss for the nine months to the end of September was €2.49bn compared to the 2020 figure of €5.98bn.
IAG pointed to strong liquidity of €10.6bn at the end of the third quarter, which was up from €8.1bn at end of December 2020. This comprised cash of €7.6bn and committed and undrawn general and aircraft facilities of €3bn.
At current fuel prices and exchange rates, IAG expects its 2021 operating loss before exceptional items to be approximately €3bn.
The IAG share price rose slightly in early morning trading in London – climbing by 0.53% to 170.68p.
Commenting on the latest figures Luis Gallego, IAG’s chief executive officer, said:
“All our airlines have shown improvements with the group's operating loss more than halved compared to previous quarters. In Q3, our operating cash flow was positive for the first time since the start of the pandemic and our liquidity is higher than ever … The full reopening of the transatlantic travel corridor from Monday is a pivotal moment for our industry. British Airways is serving more US destinations than any transatlantic carrier and we're delighted that we can get our customers flying again.”
Iberia and Vueling lead the way
Gallego added: “Iberia and Vueling continued to be the best performers within the group in the third quarter. Iberia returned to profitability while Vueling reached breakeven at the operating level. Both seized opportunities to strengthen their positions on routes to Latin America and the Spanish domestic market.”
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