Aer Lingus backing BA again as profits take off

THE board of Aer Lingus yesterday restated its backing for the £1 billion takeover bid by the owner of British Airways as the group posted strong transatlantic traffic and an 18 per cent jump in operating profit.

The Irish airline posted an 18 per cent profit hike. Picture: Getty

Announcing its 2014 results, the Irish flag-carrier praised an “excellent” performance, with an operating profit of €72 million (£53m).

Aer Lingus’s revenue lifted 9.2 per cent to €1.6bn (£1.1bn) as passenger numbers surpassed 11 million for the first time in its history.

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The Irish government is considering whether to sell its 25 per cent stake in the Dublin-based airline, in a decision which could make or break a €1.4bn takeover offer by International Airlines Group (IAG), which also owns Iberia, the Spanish flag-carrier.

Aer Lingus chairman Colm Barrington reiterated the board’s support for the IAG offer, saying: “Our performance in 2014 was strong, with significant growth in long-haul and resilient short-haul operations.

“To enhance these excellent results and to accelerate Aer Lingus’ growth, it is the board’s strong belief that the company should now take the opportunity to combine with IAG.”

He said the takeover would let Aer Lingus operate as a separate business while gaining access to IAG’s extensive network and scale.