International Airlines Group has announced pre-tax profits of €3.2 billion for the full year to December 31, 2018, up 9.5 per cent on the previous year.

CEO Willie Walsh said the results had been achieved “despite three significant challenges: fuel prices increasing 30 per cent, considerable Air Traffic Control disruption and an adverse foreign exchange impact of €129 million”.

IAG recorded an operating profit of €655 in the fourth quarter of 2018, up 19.1 per cent on the same period in 2017, with passenger unit revenue up 1.5 per cent.

But the group warned that profits for 2019 are likely to be flat, noting that “As we move into 2019, there is continued political uncertainty, fuel price volatility and the ongoing risk of impact to our operations and reputation as the frequency, nature and sophistication of cyber attacks increases”.

Across the group, British Airways made an operating profit of €1.952 billion, with Aer Lingus making €305 million, Vueling €200 million, and Iberia €437 million.

IAG also announced a new order for up to 42 B777-9s for member carrier British Airways, which will replace the airline’s ageing B747-400 and B777-200 aircraft.