International Airlines Group has reported higher annual profits thanks to cost-cutting and lower fuel prices.
It is Europe’s largest airline group with British Airways, Spain’s Iberia, the Irish carrier Aer Lingus and cargo and low cost units.
Annual operating profit rose 8.6 percent to 2.5 billion euros, but the slump in the value of the British pound after the Brexit vote cost it 460 million euros.
IAG said said it expects higher profits this year and plans to return 500 million euros to investors by buying back shares.
Norwegian’s transatlantic fares unsustainable
CEO Willie Walsh said that across IAG he expected 2.5 percent capacity growth in 2017, with Irish airline Aer Lingus expected to grow quicker than British Airways.
He was also asked about an announcement by Norwegian Air that it would offer transatlantic flights on 10 new routes, with tickets starting at $65.
“I’ve always said we’ll compete with Norwegian. The difference between Norwegian and us is we’re profitable,” he said. “The fares that they’ve launched are clearly just designed to get some headline media coverage. They’re not sustainable.”