British Airways owner lifts profit guidance

IAG chief executive Willie Walsh
IAG chief executive Willie Walsh
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BRITISH Airways owner International Airlines Group (IAG) upgraded its annual guidance yesterday after growing passenger numbers and lower fuel costs led to strong third-quarter results.

IAG, which in August added Ireland’s Aer Lingus to its stable of airlines, said that its full-year operating profit would range from €2.25 billion (£1.6bn) and €2.3bn, having previously forecast €2.2bn.

The group said that, excluding Aer Lingus, it posted a third-quarter operating profit of €1.21bn, ahead of analysts’ forecasts.

The firm, which also includes Iberia and Vueling airlines, said in its third quarter to the end of September passenger unit revenue lifted by 6.5 per cent and fuel costs fell by 8.6 per cent, compared to a year ago. Analysts at Liberum said: “The figures provide further evidence of IAG’s outperformance of its network carrier peers.”

However, shares came under pressure with brokers citing profit-taking in an industry which is notoriously cyclical.