International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), the owner of five airlines – British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, Vueling and Level – is doing well despite rising costs and ATC disruption.
UK-based IAG reported a 9.5 percent rise in operating profit before exceptional items for 2018 to 3.23 billion euros (£2.77 billion).
“Yet again, we’ve improved our operating profit this year,” said Willie Walsh, boss of IAG.
“This was a very good performance despite three significant challenges: fuel prices increasing 30 per cent, considerable Air Traffic Control disruption and an adverse foreign exchange impact of €129 million.”
However, Walsh said 2019 earnings would be flat.
That’s not stopping IAG investing in its fleet however, and it has announced a new British Airways order of up to 42 Boeing 777-9 aircraft, including 18 orders and 24 options, valued at $18.6 billion. The 777-9 is due to make its entry-into-service in March.
“The new 777-9 is the world’s most fuel efficient long haul aircraft and will bring many benefits to British Airways’ fleet,” said Walsh.
“It’s the ideal replacement for the 747 and its size and range will be an excellent fit for the airline’s existing network.
“This aircraft will provide further cost efficiencies and environmental benefits with fuel cost per seat improvements of 30 per cent compared to the 747. It also provides an enhanced passenger experience.”
The 777-9 is larger and has a slightly wider cabin than current 777s, and can sit 400-425 passengers in a standard two-class cabin.
The aircraft borrows ideas from the 787 Dreamliner including an all-new composite wing, a redesigned wider cabin with larger windows, new lighting and better cabin altitude, humidity and sound quality.