News: Profits fall at IAG as coronavirus battle continues

International Airlines Group has seen operating profit before exceptional items fall 5.7 per cent, to €3,285 million, for the year to December 31st.

Profit after tax and before exceptional items was down 1.4 per cent, €2,387 million.

Fuel unit costs for the year at the group – which includes British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus – were up 9.6 per cent, or up 5.7 per cent on a constant currency basis.

Airline non-fuel unit costs were down 0.9 per cent.

Outgoing IAG chief executive, Willie Walsh, said: “These are good results in a year affected by disruption and higher fuel prices.

“We demonstrated our robust and flexible model once again through additional cost control and by reducing capacity growth to reflect market conditions.

“We’ve increased investment in new aircraft, customer products and operational resilience and this has seen our airlines improve their customer performance scores this year.”

IAG said quarter four had been strong, with an operating profit of €765 million before exceptional items.

As with all airlines, the group is battling the coronavirus outbreak.

In Asia, IAG has suspended flights to mainland China.

On January 29th, British Airways suspended its daily flight to both Beijing and Shanghai, while Iberia suspended its three times weekly service to Shanghai on January 31st.

In addition, some services on other Asian routes have been reduced.

From February 13th, British Airways reduced its daily Hong Kong service from two to one, while, from March 13th, it will reduce its daily service to Seoul to three-to-four times weekly.

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The net impact of current flight cancellations and redeployed capacity is to lower IAG’s planned capacity for 2020 by approximately one per cent in terms of available seat kilometres to two per cent for the year.

As a result of the spreading virus, IAG said it was currently unable to offer guidance on its 2020 financial performance.

IAG Loyalty

Also today, Adam Daniels, currently IAG Loyalty chief commercial officer, is to become its chairman and chief executive.

He will report into IAG chief executive Walsh and become a member of the group’s management committee.

Daniels replaces Andrew Crawley who is leaving to start a new career in American Express Global Business Travel as chief commercial officer.

Daniels joined IAG Loyalty in 2018 from British Airways where he was chief commercial officer.

He started his British Airways career as a graduate trainee in 1992 and has worked in a variety of commercial and operational roles.

IAG Loyalty is a subsidiary of International Airlines Group and offers a wide range of services to the group’s airlines and business-to-business clients.

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