Aer Lingus swings to profit and vows to retain its independence

IRISH airline Aer Lingus swung to profit in the second quarter after cost cuts more than offset the revenue hit from a volcanic ash cloud, and vowed to defend its independence by cutting costs further into next year.

Aer Lingus has cut unprofitable US routes, reduced staff and fuel costs to survive in Ryanair’s shadow but also acknowledged it would be fruitless to insist on undercutting the prices of its bigger and leaner former suitor.

After reporting full-year losses for both 2008 and 2009, it reiterated a projection yesterday to at least break even on an operating level before exceptional items in 2010, barring a strike by staff over cost cutting.

“This performance shows a company undergoing a fast recovery from the depths of 2009,” Bloxham Stockbrokers said in a note.