Yep, British Airways owner IAG has taken a €148m hit from the weaker pound

 
Emma Haslett
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The company said a weaker pound will slow growth this year (Source: Getty)

What with terrorism, the falling pound and an attempted coup in Turkey, the past six months have not been a great time to be an airline.

The figures

International Airlines Group (IAG), which owns British Airways and Aer Lingus (after much wrangling), reported operating profit before exceptional items of €710m (£597m) in the six months to the end of June, up from €555m during the same period last year.

Revenues rose 4.1 per cent to €10.8bn - that's despite passenger unit revenue per available seat kilometres falling 7.2 per cent.

Meanwhile, fuel unit costs fell 31.2 per cent, or 29.3 per cent at constant currency.

But the pound's fall has taken its toll: the company said it had taken a negative currency hit of €148m during the period.

Shares were down 0.9 per cent at 406.5p in early trading.

Why it's interesting

Airlines and travel and tourism groups have been dented by a rise in terrorism and the weaker pound - and nowhere is the effect more palpable than at IAG, whose customers pay in pounds, but it reports in euros.

Shares in the group fell more than 33 per cent on referendum day, when it warned it would be hit by market volatility, and it was also hit on the day of the Nice attack.

Today IAG confirmed it had experienced "weak trading conditions" in the lead-up to the vote - and although the results only cover a week afterwards, it said trading had been tight.

"Weakening of the pound sterling impacted the translating of the group's sterling subsidiaries and reduced... profits, net assets and other reserves." It added that it expects profitability for 2016 to decrease.

Finally, it urged Brexit negotiators to keep a close eye on red tape.

"Excessive taxes or increases in regulation may impact on our operational and financial performance. The terms of theUK withdrawal from the other EU member states must be negotiated."

What IAG said

Chief executive Willie Walsh said:

Our performance this quarter saw a negative currency impact of €148 million, primarily due to the weak pound. Numerous external factors affected our airlines including the impact of terrorism, uncertainty around the UK's EU referendum and Spain's political situation and increased weakness in Latin American economies.

This led to a softer than expected trading environment, especially in June. In addition, the airlines' operations have been considerably disrupted by 22 air traffic control strikes in Europe so far this year. This has impacted our passenger revenues.

In short

Not a a bad set of results, all things considered - but Brexit could still do some damage.

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