Aer Lingus hit by €20m loss on ash chaos

AER LINGUS has taken a €20m (£17.2m) hit from the chaos caused by the ash plume last month, the airline said yesterday.

The Dublin based carrier said its financial performance for the second quarter of the year will be significantly impacted by the six-day flight ban and warned that the figure could be further affected by the number of claims issued by passengers.

First quarter revenue for Aer Lingus came to €230m, marking a 1.8 per cent dip from the same period last year when the group pulled in €234.

Chief executive Christoph Mueller said the airline’s results represented a significant improvement on the corresponding period for 2009, however he said the company remains cautious.

“While we are very encouraged by first quarter trading, it is nonetheless appropriate to remain cautious on the full year 2010 performance,” he said.

Operating losses for Aer Lingus during the first quarter were €37.8m, marking an improvement from the same period in 2009 when they were €74.8m.

Meanwhile, short haul revenue declined by 2.6 per cent to €137.1m as passenger volume dipped by 0.4 per cent. Aer Lingus said short haul fares experienced a three per cent rise.

Similarly, long haul fares have climbed by more than 12 per cent, as the group saw passenger revenue drop by as much as 15 per cent to €44.m.

Aer Lingus said this was due to a 25 per cent drop in passenger numbers and the part cancellation of the San Francisco and Washington services.

● First quarter revenues fell by 1.8 per cent.

● First quarter revenue losses were €37.8m.

● Gross cash balances climbed to €918.9m.

● Average shorthaul fares rose three per cent.

● Average long haul fares rose 12.4 per cent.