International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), the owner of British Airways, continues to make losses, attributing them to the government restrictions for air travel and quarantine requirements. However, the company still expects to see light recovery signs in July 2021 and craves for the implementation of contactless technology and digital passports arguing that such measures could speed up the recovery.
The freshly-released company’s report for its performance in Q1 2021 indicated a slightly shrunken operating loss of €1,068 million compared to €1,860 million loss which the company suffered for the same period of 2020. Despite the loss, the parent company of British Airways secured cash of €8.0 billion as of March 31.
As for passenger capacity in Q1 2021, the group announced having reached 19.6% of 2019 levels and forecasted that its capacity should increase minimally to 25% in Q2 2021. However, the forecast on passenger numbers might change depending on the further pandemic control strategy, the company warned.
”Current passenger capacity plans for quarter 2 are for around 25 percent of 2019 capacity, but remain uncertain and subject to review,“ IAG reported in a statement.
Luis Gallego, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of IAG, outlined that despite the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic, during the first three months of 2021, the group was aiming to boost its liquidity and reduce the cost base in order to build resilience. According to the report, in Q1 2021 IAG increased the liquidity to €10.5 billion.
“We’re doing everything in our power to emerge in a stronger competitive position. We’re absolutely confident that a safe restart to travel can happen as shown by the scientific data. We’re ready to fly but government action is needed,” Gallego said.
Gallego added that for the airline to recover, governments should successfully roll out vaccination and testing processes as well as withdraw restrictions for air travel corridors among countries. Gallego also outlined that multi-layered testing could be a key solution to replace quarantine, while the implementation of contactless technology and digital passports for testing and vaccination documentation could ensure frictionless travel.
“These measures will enable a safe reopening of our skies,” Gallego said.