Aer Lingus on recovery trail

Irish airline Aer Lingus reaffirmed its outlook for this year after reporting a 35 per cent increase in third quarter operating profit on but remains cautious about next year given harsh austerity measures at home and abroad.

"We remain cautious on the outlook for 2011 given concerns about the durability of the recent aviation sector performance as well as continuing economic uncertainty in our primary markets," chief executive Christoph Mueller said in a statement.

Yield per passenger rose 12.5 per cent in the third quarter from a year ago but yield growth momentum will moderate next year because of the tough comparison with this year, the group said.

Mueller reiterated that Aer Lingus expects full-year operating profit before exceptional items in 2011 to be at the top end of market forecasts.

But he warned that this forecast was dependent on cost-saving measures and no escalation of current industrial action by staff.

Market expectations for Aer Lingus' full year operating profit range between 25 million and 29 million euros, with the consensus at 27 million euros (23 million pounds), according to a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll of two analyst