British Airways owner IAG made £245m profit during passenger chaos
British Airways owner made £245million profit between April and June while passengers suffered massive queues, lost bag chaos and thousands of cancelled flights
- BA owner IAG recorded a profit for the first time since the pandemic started
- British Airways cancelled tens of thousands of flights this summer
- The airline reduced its summer schedule at Heathrow due to ‘impossible shortages of people there’
- IAG’s chief executive thanked customers for their ‘loyalty and patience’
British Airways’ owner made an operating profit of £245million this spring – for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) suffered a £810million loss during the same period last year but expects the profit to be ‘positive’ for 2022 as a whole if there are ‘no further setbacks’ from Covid-19, government-imposed restrictions or ‘material impacts’.
Luis Gallego, IAG’s chief executive, said there had been a ‘strong recovery in demand across all our airlines’ and hoped for a better situation by the end of the year ‘if everything goes well’.
Meanwhile airports across the UK have seen unprecedented delays, as passengers saw their luggage vanish, experienced thousands of cancelled flights and waited in massive queues.
British Airways cancelled tens of thousands of flights this summer.
British Airways’ owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) made an operating profit of £245million this spring as passengers suffered unprecedented delays. Pictured: Passengers queue in Terminal 2 in Heathrow Airport
Lord Deighton, chairman of Heathrow Airport, accused BA bosses of overseeing ‘decade of slashing’ before ‘being refashioned as a service organisation by its new team’.
He also blamed the disruption on Covid-era mass layoffs and cuts to the wages of baggage handlers – who typically earn between £15,000 and £28,000 – imposed by airlines during the pandemic.
‘Ground handling is a highly competitive, labour intensive, low margin business, characterised by short term contracts,’ the former Treasury official wrote in the Telegraph.
‘Airlines have driven down costs over the years, and this was one of the first costs they slashed during the pandemic.’
Many passengers have seen their luggage disappear this summer. Pictured: Hundreds of suitcases mounting up at Heathrow Terminal 2
On July 12, Heathrow introduced a cap of 100,000 daily departing passengers until September 11 due to a shortage of staff, leading to more flights being cancelled.
Former British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh slammed the airport for imposing the unprecedented flight cap and even called for Mr Holland-Kaye, the CEO of Heathrow, to be fired if the chaos continues into next year.
IAG said the ‘challenging operational environment at Heathrow’ meant British Airways’ capacity was limited to 69.1% of pre-pandemic levels between April and June, compared with 57.4% during the previous three months.
Mr Gallego told reporters that British Airways reduced its summer schedule at Heathrow as it realised its plan was ‘going to be impossible because of the shortage of people there’.
He went on: ‘We decided to cap the capacity in order to get resilience to the operation and in order to protect our customers.
‘I think it was the right movement.
‘We were worried because the projections of the number of people at Heathrow didn’t match the projections and the demand that we were expecting.’
Luis Gallego, IAG’s chief executive, said there had been a ‘strong recovery in demand across all our airlines’ and hoped for a better situation by the end of the year ‘if everything goes well’. Pictured: Passengers queuing at Heathrow Terminal 2
British Airways plans to increase capacity to 75% between July and October.
IAG’s plans for overall passenger capacity are around 80% between July and October, and 85% for the final quarter of the year.
That is a reduction of 5% for the second half of 2022 compared with previous guidance, which the group said is ‘mainly due to the challenges at Heathrow’.
Mr Gallego said: ‘In the second quarter we returned to profit for the first time since the start of the pandemic following a strong recovery in demand across all our airlines.
‘Our performance reflected a significant increase in capacity, load factor and yield compared to the first quarter.
‘Premium leisure remains strong while business travel continues a steady recovery in all airlines.’
‘Our industry continues to face historic challenges due to the unprecedented scaling up in operations, especially in the UK where the operational challenges of Heathrow Airport have been acute.
‘I would like to thank those customers affected for their loyalty and patience and our colleagues for their hard work and commitment.
Asked how long he believes restrictions will last at Heathrow, Mr Gallego said: ‘I hope that if everything goes well, at the end of the year we will be in a better situation.’
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