The owner of British Airways and Iberia, International Airlines Group (IAG), has posted annual profits for the first time since the COVID pandemic.
IAG, which also owns Aer Lingus, said 2022 saw “strong recovery” in core markets as COVID restrictions were lifted allowing the company to see a return to profit.
Financial details were released by IAG on Friday, February 24, 2023, which also included confidence that 2023 would see even further recovery with profits in the range of €1.8 to €2.3 billion.
According to IAG, 2022 saw operating profit before exceptional items of €1,225 million, an increase of €4,195 million compared to the full year in 2021.
Luis Gallego, IAG Chief Executive Officer, believes that IAG will see profits at pre-COVID levels “within the next few years”.
However, IAG are mindful of uncertainty in the “macro environment and fuel and non-fuel cost inflation”.
“2022 was a year of strong recovery, driven by sustained leisure demand and markets reopening. We are transforming our businesses, with the intention of returning IAG to pre-COVID levels of profit within the next few years, through major initiatives to improve customer experience and operational performance,” Gallego said.
IAG chief executive Luis Gallego also told the Financial Times that travel recovery could be dampened by disruption at Heathrow Airport this summer.
“We are worried about Heathrow. We have very strong demand and we hope that Heathrow is going to put in the resources necessary for the capacity we are going to fly,” he explained.
IAG also recently announced the acquisition of Air Europa, the largest Spanish competitor to Iberia.
Gallego added: “With the acquisition of Air Europa now agreed but subject to regulatory and other approvals which could take around 18 months, we are intending to welcome another leading airline to the Group. This acquisition will enable us to grow Madrid as a hub, offering a gateway to Latin America and beyond, with benefits for customers, employees and shareholders.”