IAG seeks to return to profitability next year

International Airlines Group has reported an operating loss of €452 million for the third quarter of financial 2021.

The figure compares to a loss of €1,923 million seen during the same period last year.

The group – which controls British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus – reported operating losses of €2,487 million for the first nine months of the year, down from €5,975 million for the same period last year.

Luis Gallego, IAG chief executive, said: “There’s a significant recovery underway and our teams across the group are working hard to capture every opportunity.

“We continue to capitalise on surges in bookings when travel restrictions are lifted.”

He added: “All our airlines have shown improvements with the group’s operating loss more than halved compared to previous quarters.

“In quarter three, our operating cash flow was positive for the first time since the start of the pandemic and our liquidity is higher than ever, reaching €12.1 billion on a pro forma basis at the end of October.

“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.”

In the short term, IAG said it was focused on getting ready to operate as much capacity as it could, setting the company up to return to profitability in 2022.

However, losses are expected to total €3 billion this year.

“Our teams are creating opportunities,” said Gallego, “and implementing initiatives to transform our business and preparing it for the future so that we emerge more competitive.

“This includes initiatives such as our new short-haul operation at Gatwick, Vueling’s expansion at Paris-Orly, Aer Lingus’ services from Manchester to the US and the Caribbean and our new maintenance model in Barcelona.”