International Airlines Group significantly narrows losses but remains in the red

International Airlines Group has reported a statutory operating loss of €2.8 billion for 2021.

While still in the red, the figure is a marked improvement on the €7.5 billion lost in 2020.

Passenger capacity at the group was at 58 per cent of levels seen in 2019 during the final three months of last year, up from 43 per cent in quarter three.

For the full year the figure was 36 per cent of 2019 capacity.

Luis Gallego, IAG chief executive, said: “We are confident that a strong recovery is underway.

“Our teams across the Group are taking every opportunity to develop our business while capitalising on the surge in bookings when travel restrictions are lifted.

“We are also monitoring recent geopolitical events closely to manage any potential impact.

“All our airlines continued to show improvements in the fourth quarter, optimising their performance and further improving their operating results.

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“Our diversified business model enabled us to make the most of the recovery as individual markets were affected at different times and in different ways.”

The group – which owns Iberia, Aer Lingus, British Airways and Vueling – hoped to fly two third of 2019 capacity in quarter one of this year.

Over the full year, IAG plans to offer 85 per cent of 2019 capacity.

Gallego said: “Premium leisure has performed strongly at both British Airways and Iberia while business travel has started to recover especially on the transatlantic routes.

“Prior to Omicron, long-haul traffic had seen the highest booking activity in October and November at over 80 per cent of 2019 levels.

“This was driven by the re-opening of the North Atlantic corridor and the strength of long-haul leisure markets and travellers visiting families and friends.

“Demand slowed down for very near-term trips following the emergence of Omicron in late November.

“However, bookings have remained strong for Easter and summer 2022 having picked up in the New Year.”

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