Vueling demonstrates its value to International Airlines Group with a strong set of 1st Quarter results

Although Vueling is now majority owned by International Airlines Group (“IAG”), the airline remains a listed entity and it has today published its results for the 1st quarter of 2013.

The results announcement is interesting for what it does, and what it doesn’t say.

Whilst, as is to be expected for the first calendar quarter of the year, the airline is loss-making, Vueling continues to be a strong, expanding and, crucially for its new parent, a cash generative business. In just one quarter Vueling increased its net cash balance by €45.3m to €384.6m. The attraction of Vueling to IAG in terms of balance sheet strength alone is clear.

Strategically, Vueling reaffirms its commitment to grow across Europe this year, increasing seat capacity in the summer season by 14% as well as targeting the business class market with its “Excellence” fare.

However, interestingly, the announcement is completely silent of the near-complete acquisition of the airline by IAG. Aside from a reference a formal commitment to become a pan-European operator and opportunities from industry consolidation, nothing is given away about what plans IAG has for Vueling. IAG has not been shy in its praise for Vueling and the next couple of years will be interesting to watch, particularly as regards Vueling’s plans, if any, for the UK market.

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