BA parent raises profit forecast but airline chiefs fear a bumpy summer for passengers

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By Linsey McNeill
Home » BA parent raises profit forecast but airline chiefs fear a bumpy summer for passengers

British Airways’ owner IAG has said its profit this year will be higher than expected due to the ongoing travel boom.

IAG, which also owns Aer Lingus, Vueling and budget airline Level, said full-year operating profit will likely be above the €1.8billion to €2.3 billion range it forecast in February.

The airline company has just experienced its first profitable quarter since 2019 following a better-than-expected performance due to lower fuel costs and high revenues.

Its operating profits for the three months to the end of March reached €9m, which compared to a loss of €718m in the first three months of last year.

Chief Executive Luis Gallego said all of the group’s airlines ‘performed above expectations’.

He said all IAG airlines have enough staff to cope with summer demand, but he said he was worried about staffing levels at London Heathrow and ongoing French air traffic control strikes, which continue to hit flights to and from the UK.

“We are a little concerned about Heathrow … because usually the forecast we have about the passengers we are going to fly during the summer is higher than what they think, so we are a little worried about that.

“We hope they have the resources,” he said.

And Willie Walsh, Chief of airline body IATA warned passengers  ‘may be disappointed’ due to staff shortages and supply chain issues this summer. 

He said labour shortages among aircraft manufacturers and air traffic control strikes had already caused flights to be cancelled in recent weeks.

He said the strikes should ‘not be tolerated’ by authorities. 

His comments come after Ryanair announced French ATC strikes forced it to cancel more than 650 flights last month, affecting around 118,000 passengers.

 “As traveller expectations build towards the peak Northern Hemisphere summer travel season, airlines are doing their best to meet the desire and need to fly. Unfortunately, a lack of capacity means that some of those travellers may be disappointed,” said Willie.

“Part of this capacity shortfall is attributable to the widely reported labour shortages impacting many parts of the aviation value chain, as well as supply chain issues affecting the aircraft manufacturing sector that is resulting in aircraft delivery delays. 

“However, a significant share of recent flight cancellations, primarily in Europe, are owing to job actions by air traffic controllers and others. 

“These irresponsible actions resulted in thousands of unnecessary cancellations in March. This is unacceptable and should not be tolerated by the authorities.”

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