In a statement announcing IAG’s financial results for the three months ending March 31, 2012, CEO Willie Walsh said that as a result of the group’s purchase of Bmi, “British Airways is able to manage its wider Heathrow slot portfolio more effectively and is launching a new route to Seoul later this year”.
“Airports across the UK and beyond have contacted us about starting services and, subject to reaching satisfactory agreement with them, we plan to also launch flights from Heathrow to Leeds-Bradford, Rotterdam and Zagreb and increase frequencies to existing key destinations”, said Walsh.
IAG announced a first quarter operating loss of €249 million, before exceptional items, which Walsh said was “mainly due to a €281 million, 24.9 per cent rise in fuel costs, driven by higher prices, the reduced impact of hedging and emissions charges”.
Of this figure Iberia made an operating loss of €170 million, with recent pilots’ strike costing €25 million.
Walsh said: “Iberia’s performance reflects the weakness of the Spanish domestic market and industrial action by pilots opposed to actions by Iberia’s management to improve the airline’s efficiencies.
“For British Airways, although the London market and demand for transatlantic travel remains strong, its performance has been affected by rising fuel costs.
“The financial performance of our business continues to be undermined by government actions. In addition to the UK government increasing the world’s highest aviation tax – Air Passenger Duty – by double the inflation rate, the Spanish government plans to increase departure taxes from Spain by up to €10 per passenger.”
Report by Mark Caswell