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BA’s parent company International Airlines Group released its half year results today, Friday 29 July 2022.
BA reported its first operating profit since COVID-19 with a profit of £54 million for the second quarter of this year. At a group level IAG made an operating profit of €293 million.
Again, BA’s recovery from COVID-19 lags that of other IAG airlines. BA’s capacity measured by Available Seat Kilometres was around 30% less than the same quarter in 2019. This compares to 13% for Iberia. Passenger revenue was also 27% less at BA, compared to 4% less for the same quarter at Iberia.
Premium leisure revenue has recovered to around 85% of 2019 levels. Premium business revenue has recovered to around 60% of 2019 levels. Again, this lags Iberia.
BA At Heathrow
Like the first quarter results presentation, there was much focus on BA’s operational performance, particularly at London Heathrow.
Since the last set of results, BA has taken additional measures with American Airlines & Iberia moving out of Terminal 5 and the recruitment of a new Chief Operating Officer René de Groot from KLM.
In total, BA has cancelled 18% of planned flights between May and October this year. This represents around 13% of Available Seat Kilometres.
The majority of these were preemptive cancellations in May and June. Additional cancellations under the UK government’s slot amnesty resulted in a 7% flight schedule reduction. This represents around 2% of Available Seat Kilometres.
Heathrow’s mandatory passenger cap, which provoked a furious reaction from some airlines, had a relatively limited impact with around six short haul departures a day cancelled.
As we’ve seen from recent flight cancellations, this will continue for the rest of this year.
In terms of recruitment BA has now recruited another 1,400 staff. In total, it’s recruited 4,000 staff but needs 7,000 in total by the end of the year with more for the next summer season.
Whilst Heathrow has been keen to point out it has recruited more security staff, BA say there is a significant experience lag in the speed of processing passengers and bags and allowing vehicles through checkpoints.
Other BA Updates
In terms of other BA updates:
As expected catering improvements will be rolled out across long haul cabins between now and October to restore many aspects of the service that were removed following COVID-19.
The roll out of the Club Suite may be delayed due to global chip shortages affecting the supply of new in flight entertainment systems.
IAG does not expect to start delivery of the first of 18 Boeing 777-9 aircraft until 2026, four years later than originally planned. No update was given on outstanding deliveries of 787-10 aircraft. Though IAG clearly sees staff shortages, not aircraft availably, affecting capacity in the medium term.
In terms of pay talks with pilots, where the possibility of a ballot for industrial action has been raised, as usual IAG does not give a running commentary on negotiations.
Ongoing IT initiatives such as moving data centres to Amazon Web Services cloud platforms are said to be progressing well.
Nothing was said about BA short haul at Gatwick and plans for the winter season and beyond.
Other IAG Airlines
IAG gave a preview of Iberia’s new long haul business class cabin which will be installed on Airbus A350-900 aircraft.
The seat is manufactured by Recaro and will be installed on aircraft from December 2023.
Vueling’s expanded base at London Gatwick, aided by slots leased by BA, is said to be performing ahead of expectations.