International Airlines Group released its 3rd quarter results on Friday 26 October 2018.
There are no great surprises in the numbers themselves. It reported a modest increase in operating profit year-on-year to €1,460 million as rising revenues offset rising fuel costs, which has affected all airlines.
As usual, the results announcement is more interesting for comments from the group during analyst question and answer sessions:
BA Cyber Attack
IAG was limited in what it could say about the cyber attack on BA in light of the fact that a criminal investigation is underway.
Before the results announcement, IAG and BA confirmed that in addition to its first announcement in September, it had also identified that the attacker had viewed personal financial data of passengers making Avios redemptions between Saturday 21 April 2018 and Saturday 28 July 2018.
Two cyber security firms have carried out a forensic investigation on the cyber attack. IAG has also been working with the National Cyber Security Centre, which is part of GCHQ, and the National Crime Agency. The identity of the individual or organisation that carried out the cyber attack is not known.
However, IAG knows that it was a single attacker doing different things over a period of time. IAG considers that it understands exactly how the attacker secured access to BA’s systems, what the attacker did, and when, and what data was viewed.
Whilst there is evidence that customer data was viewed, there is no evidence to indicate that customer data was actually extracted from BA’s systems. It appears that it was not the billing and payment systems that were specifically compromised.
Although IAG will remain limited in what it can say for some time, it does seem prepared to eventually give a full account so that others can learn from it.
Rolls-Royce Engine Dreamliner Issues
IAG CEO Willie Walsh reiterated his unhappiness at ongoing issues with Rolls Royce engines on its fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
This has continued to affected BA as aircraft are grounded. It has had to selectively cancel flights – with Doha bearing the brunt of cancellations – and wet lease aircraft from Air Belgium to cover flights to Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
These issues will continue into 2019, when it had been expected to be resolved by the end of the summer. IAG is receiving cash and non-monetary compensation from Rolls-Royce, which has not been disclosed for reasons of commercial confidentiality.
Deliveries of Airbus A321 Long Range aircraft to Aer Lingus next year may be also delayed, which may have an impact on its expansion plans for next year.
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