British Airways-owner IAG enjoyed its first first-quarter profit since prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, it told markets this morning, immediately enjoying a 4 per cent share boost.
IAG saw operating profit of €9m in the first quarter, gaining significant benefits from the fall in the fuel price.
IAG, which owns BA, Iberia, Vueling and a host of other airlines, said it would up its guidance for the year for operating profit from €1.8bn to €2.3bn.
Luis Gallego, the firm’s CEO, said it was a “strong” financial performance.
“We are seeing healthy forward bookings with leisure demand particularly strong while business travel continues to recover more slowly,” he added.
BA also returned to profit as a standalone entity, helped by the boom in leisure travel.
Iberia meanwhile delivered its best-ever first quarter performance, driven by strong demand in Spain and Latin America as well as on routes to the USA.
The firm did warn on some “softness” in the shorthaul business operated by Aer Lingus, the Irish carrier, and said that “technology industry-related routes” were also lower than in previous years as that industry – centred in Dublin – feels the pinch of higher interest rates.
“As we return to more normal operations, we continue to invest in sustainability, including more fuel-efficient aircraft, and in customer experience, updating the business cabins for British Airways and Iberia. Over the past year we have recruited thousands of new employees across the Group and strengthened our operations so that we are ready to deliver for our customers during the summer peak,” Gallego added.