Jul 30, 2021

British Airways owner IAG outlines plans to increase flights

The owner of British Airways has outlined cautious plans to return more of its planes to the skies after a difficult first half of the year in which losses spiralled to €2bn. International Airlines Group is heavily exposed to UK and transatlantic travel, leaving its recovery lagging behind many of its main competitors in Europe. IAG plans to fly 45 per cent of its normal flight schedule in the third quarter, up from 20 per cent in the first six months of the year. Air France-KLM expects to return to profit in the next three months, and welcomed a recovery in passenger demand as the EU eased travel restrictions more quickly than the UK. IAG shares fell more than 6 per cent on Friday, outstripping losses elsewhere in the European airline industry. Through BA, IAG is normally the dominant player across the highly lucrative north Atlantic, and the company is desperate for travel between the UK and US to resume fully. IAG reported an operating loss of €967m in the second quarter, bringing its losses for the first six months of the year to just over €2bn. The first-half loss was a considerable improvement on the nearly €4bn lost in the first six months of 2020, but total revenue fell 60 per cent year on year to €2.2bn. The company is burning through €190m in cash a week, a figure that does not take incoming revenue into account.

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