IAG quarterly profit rises on higher ticket prices

IAG quarterly profit rises on higher ticket prices
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Hannah Mckay(Reuters)
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LONDON (Reuters) - Higher ticket prices and lower costs helped British Airways-owner IAG <ICAG.L> to post a 6 percent rise in quarterly profit and keep it on track for full-year growth.

The company, which also owns the Iberia, Vueling, Aer Lingus and Level airlines, reiterated its outlook that it expected annual operating profit to be higher this year at current fuel prices and exchange rates.

IAG continues to want to add new airlines to its portfolio and its chief executive, Willie Walsh, told BBC radio on Friday that IAG remained interested in Norwegian <NWC.OL>, the struggling low-cost carrier it had approached earlier this year.

In April, IAG acquired a 4.6 percent stake in Norwegian with a view to starting takeover discussions, but Walsh told the BBC that there were no active discussions taking place, adding that Norwegian would be transformed under IAG ownership.

For the second quarter, IAG reported operating profit before exceptional items of 835 million euros (£743.35 million), slightly behind a consensus forecast of 848 million euros, as disruption caused by French Air Traffic control strikes weighed.

Unit revenue performance, which measures pricing, rose 2.9 percent in the period, helped by strong demand in North America, Europe and Latin America.

Both of IAG's major European rivals Air France-KLM <AIRF.PA> and Lufthansa <LHAG.DE> reported positive second quarter results earlier this week, with the German carrier raising its ticket price forecast for the rest of 2018.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Kate Holton)

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