British Airways’ owner International Consolidated Airlines Group has returned to profit for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
The group said it made an operating profit of 293 million euros (£245 million) between April and June, compared with a 967 million euro (£810 million) loss during the same period last year.
It expects operating profit before exceptional items to be “positive” for 2022 as a whole if there are “no further setbacks related to Covid-19 and government-imposed restrictions or material impacts from geopolitical developments”.
IAG chief executive Luis Gallego said: “In the second quarter we returned to profit for the first time since the start of the pandemic following a strong recovery in demand across all our airlines.
“This result supports our outlook for a full-year operating profit.
“Our performance reflected a significant increase in capacity, load factor and yield compared to the first quarter.
“Premium leisure remains strong, while business travel continues a steady recovery in all airlines.”
IAG said the “challenging operational environment at Heathrow” meant British Airways’ capacity was limited to 69.1% of pre-pandemic levels between April and June.
That is compared with 57.4% during the previous three months.
The airline, which has cancelled tens of thousands of flights this summer, plans to increase its capacity to around 75% between July and October.
IAG’s plans for overall passenger capacity are around 80% between July and October, and 85% for the final quarter of the year.
That is a reduction of 5% for the second half of 2022 compared with previous guidance, which the group said is “mainly due to the challenges at Heathrow”.
On July 12, Heathrow introduced a cap of 100,000 daily departing passengers until September 11 due to a shortage of staff in ground handling and elsewhere, leading to more flights being cancelled.