IAG profits soar in first quarter as tourists return to the skies

In this Wednesday, March 18, 2020 file photo, British Airways planes parked at Terminal 5 Heathrow airport in London.
In this Wednesday, March 18, 2020 file photo, British Airways planes parked at Terminal 5 Heathrow airport in London. Copyright Frank Augstein/Copyright 2020 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Frank Augstein/Copyright 2020 The AP. All rights reserved
By Indrabati Lahiri
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A recovery in the business travel market and increased numbers of holidaymakers flying for winter breaks to the Caribbean all contributed to a major increase in profits.


International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) released its first quarter 2024 results on Friday morning, showing an operational profit before exceptional items of €68 million. This was a huge jump from the €9 million seen in the first quarter of 2023.

IAG owns several notable airlines, such as British Airways, Aer Lingus, Lufthansa, Eurowings, Swiss Air, Air France and much more.

Although the group still saw a loss after tax of -€4 million in Q1 2024, this was still much better than the -€87 million seen in Q1 2023. Total revenue came in at €6.4 billion in the first quarter of 2024, up from €5.8 billion in Q1 2023.

This improved performance was likely due to the increased benefits from its transformation strategies, higher unit revenue as well as total revenue.

Robust Easter demand also contributed to this figure, with consumers being much more willing to travel post-pandemic, following the relaxation of virtually all COVID-19 travel restrictions. This was seen across the group’s core markets, in South Atlantic, North Atlantic and intra-Europe.

The group also reported a 7% growth in passenger capacity in Q1 2024, compared to Q1 2023, with non-fuel unit expenses remaining as anticipated. The net debt to EBITDA before exceptional items ratio, which measures how many years a company would need to pay back its net debt, if both the latter and EBITDA were kept the same, came in at 1.3.

This was quite a bit below Q1 2023’s 2.1, as well as well within the desired range of under 3.

IAG likely to continue expansion efforts this year

IAG has reiterated its full year guidance, as well as a commitment to carry on investing in their core markets. The company has also announced an increased focus on operational efficiency as well as customer benefits.

Luis Gallego, chief executive officer at IAG said in a statement, “Our transformation initiatives and increased demand, including over the Easter holidays have delivered another very good set of results with improvements to both revenue and operating profit.

“Our group benefits from the strength of our core markets - North Atlantic, South Atlantic and intra-Europe- and the performance of our brands. Investment across the group in transformation is delivering encouraging improvements in punctuality and customer experience at our airlines. IAG Loyalty continues to perform very well.

“We are well-positioned for the summer. The high demand for travel is a continuing trend.”

In the last few months, IAG has been significantly expanding, bidding for Portugal’s flagship airline TAP Air Portugal. This would also give it significant access to Brazil’s market, which at present, amounts to about 215 million people.

From there, it is also expected to further solidify its position in both North and South America. The group is also planning to bid for Scandinavian Airlines, through a joint effort by Air France and KLM, as well as for Alitalia, through Lufthansa and for Air Europa of Spain.

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