IAG, the parent group of British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia
IAG owns airlines including British Airways, Spanish carrier Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling Image Credit: AFP

London: IAG, owner of British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia, revealed Friday revenue slightly above pre-pandemic levels as it posted third-quarter profits on rebounding passenger demand.

Revenue soared to 7.3 billion euros (dollars) in the peak July-September demand period, from 2.7 billion euros in the third quarter last year, IAG said in a statement. The latest result was almost one percent higher compared with the third quarter in 2019, or before the coronavirus pandemic grounded planes worldwide at the start of the following year.

It comes despite the group’s airlines, which include Aer Lingus and Vueling, facing higher costs, notably from soaring jet fuel prices. Airlines are tackling this by charging higher fares.

Air France-KLM’s quarterly core profit beat expectations on Friday, as it reported favourable demand recovery despite lower capacity and inflationary pressure on costs.

The airline posted an operating income of 1.02 billion euros in the third quarter, against an average estimate from analysts polled by the company at 844 million. Quarterly revenue came in 8.11 billion euros, above 2019 levels.

Fewer staff equals fewer flights

IAG had collapsed into annual losses in 2020 and 2021 as Covid-19 ravaged global demand for international air travel, forcing BA and its peers to slash thousands of jobs. That has left airlines and airports struggling to recruit staff.

Airlines across the region are facing staff shortages and labour disputes as cabin crews and pilots demand better working conditions and higher wages to offset inflation. Airlines were forced to cut thousands of flights from their schedules and limit ticket sales for the coming winter.

Schiphol, one of Europe’s busiest airports, said last month daily passenger numbers would be reduced by around a fifth until at least March 2023 to guarantee the safety of passengers and employees, forcing KLM to limit ticket sales for the coming winter.

A spokesperson for KLM, the main carrier at Schiphol, said that issues at the hub, which has capped passenger numbers at around 15 per cent below 2019 levels, had now cost it 175 million euros since April. The passenger caps at Amsterdam’s airport are still in place.