International Airlines Group reports higher earnings in 2014 due to Iberia turnaround

International Airlines Group (IAG) (British Airways, Iberia and Vueling Airlines) (London and Madrid) presented Group consolidated results for the year to December 31, 2014:

IAG period highlights on results:

Fourth quarter operating profit €260 million (2013: operating profit of €113 million) before exceptional items

Revenue for the quarter up 9.9 per cent to €5,015 million, up 5.8 per cent at constant currency

Non-fuel unit costs for the quarter down 0.8 per cent at constant currency

Operating profit for the year to December 31, 2014 of €1,390 million (2013: operating profit of €770 million) before exceptional items

Revenue for the year up 8.0 per cent to €20,170 million and passenger unit revenue for the year down 0.4 per cent at constant currency

Fuel unit costs for the year down 7.8 per cent also down 7.8 per cent at constant currency.

Non-fuel unit costs before exceptional items for the year down 1.9 per cent, down 3.9 per cent at constant currency

Cash of €4,944 million at December 31, 2014 was up €1,311 million on 2013 year end

Adjusted gearing up 1 point to 51 per cent and adjusted net debt to EBITDAR improved 0.6 to 1.9 times

Willie Walsh, IAG Chief Executive Officer, said:

“We’re reporting strong full year results with an operating profit before exceptional items of €1,390 million which is up 80.5 per cent. Total revenue was up 8.0 per cent with non-fuel costs up 7.0 per cent and fuel costs up 0.6 per cent on capacity growth of 9.3 per cent.

“Iberia made an operating profit of €50 million compared to an operating loss of €166 million last year. The airline’s turnaround has been remarkable, both financially and operationally, and we’re very proud of its achievement especially its strong cost discipline. In 2013 we said our intention was for Iberia to breakeven in 2014 and it has fulfilled that promise.

“British Airways’ operating profit increased to €1,215 million up from €762 million last year which shows significant progress towards its long term targets. Vueling made an operating profit of €141 million, compared to an operating profit of €139 million in 2013, with the airline focusing on flexible growth.

“We achieved a strong unit cost performance, down 4.1 per cent, through increased productivity, supplier cost savings and lower fuel unit costs. The latter was boosted by the introduction of more efficient aircraft into our fleet and lower fuel prices in the last quarter of the year. However, the positive effect of the oil price reduction has been partly offset by hedging and significant currency impact.

“In the quarter, we made an operating profit before exceptional items of €260 million which is up from €113 million last year. Revenue for the quarter was up 9.9 per cent. Non-fuel costs were up 10.5 per cent and fuel costs decreased by 0.4 per cent on capacity growth of 5.8 per cent.”

Copyright Photo: Iberia Airbus A321-211 EC-JQZ (msn 2736) taxies at London’s Heathrow Airport.

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Delta reports slightly lower numbers in February

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) today reported financial and operating performance for February 2015.

Consolidated passenger unit revenue (PRASM) for the month of February decreased 1.5 percent year over year, driven by 1.5 points of continuing foreign exchange pressure on international results and 0.5 point from the impact of lapping prior year’s winter storms. Continuing strength in the domestic entity and corporate revenue gains offset a portion of this month’s international PRASM pressure. System capacity increased 6% for the month which includes 2 points of capacity growth from prior year’s winter storms.

The company’s financial and operating performance is detailed below.

Preliminary Financial and Operating Results

February consolidated PRASM change year over year
(1.5)%
February mainline completion factor
97.5%
February on-time performance (preliminary DOT A14)
78.0%

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 757-2Q8 WL N624AG (msn 25624) departs the runway at Los Angeles International Airport.

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Alaska Airlines to take another look at flying to Everett after Snohomish County approves a Paine Field terminal

Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) is taking another look at possibly serving Paine Field near Everett, Washington (north of Seattle) after the Snohomish County council approved the construction of a passenger terminal. Paine Field is also the home of Boeing’s 747/777/778 assembly plant.

The Snohomish County Council has approved a two-gate passenger terminal at PAE. The building will be leased to Propeller Airports (New York). The facility once built, could handle up to 23 flights a day according to KING 5.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Meanwhile Alaska Airlines is now taking a new look at PAE for possible service probably by Horizon Air (Alaska Horizon) following this vote according to Puget Sound Business Journal.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Horizon Air (Alaska Horizon) Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) N452QX (msn 4459) taxies to the runway at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) in the special “Employee Powered” livery featuring the signatures of employees.

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United Airlines is interested in the Boeing 777-300 ER, will not accept bulk shipments of lithium-ion batteries

United Airlines (Chicago) could become a new potential customer of the Boeing 777-300 ER. According to Reuters, Chief Financial Officer, John Rainey, told Reuters United is interested in the stretch Triple Seven as a “good fit its network”. United is considering swapping some Boeing 787s it has on order for the 777-300 ER. However United does not have an immediate interest on the new Boeing 777X design.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

In other news, United Airlines stated yesterday it will no longer accept bulk shipments of rechargeable batter (lithium-ion batteries), following the lead of Delta Air Lines.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. The 777-300 ER would mesh well with the current 19 Boeing 777-200s and 55 777-200 ERs. Boeing 777-222 ER N226UA (msn 30226) climbs away from Los Angeles International Airport.

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A new theory of what happened to Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 by Captain Simon Hardy

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) flight MH 370 remains missing after we approach March 8, the first anniversary of the lost flight. Searchers are already stating the search cannot go on forever. It is possible the remains of the pictured Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO (msn 28420) with 239 passengers and crew members on board may never be found.

According to this report by news.com.au citing a published report by Flightglobal, “British senior Captain Simon Hardy, who works with a major commercial airline, has claimed that Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was taken on an emotional “last farewell” near the pilot’s home island of Penang, before being deliberately landed in the ocean.”

Captain Hardy believes Captain Shah made a series of turns over his Penang birthplace as an emotional goodbye before crashing the Triple Seven into the sea with all on board.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. Ill-fated Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO (msn 28420) lands at Stockholm (Arlanda) before it went missing.

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Aerolineas Argentinas takes delivery of the first direct delivery Airbus A330-200

Aerolineas Argentinas (Buenos Aires) has taken delivery of their first new, directly purchased Airbus A330-200 aircraft as a part of the carrier’s fleet renewal strategy.

The aircraft, A330-202 LV-FVH (msn 1605), is equipped with GE engines and joins the airline’s existing fleet of 11 Airbus widebody aircraft, comprising four A330-200s and seven A340s.

Aerolineas Argentinas will deploy its new A330 on long haul routes from their Buenos Aires hub to Miami and New York City, and then Madrid in July 2015.

Aerolíneas Argentinas has been an Airbus operator since 1994 when the airline began flying the A310-300. In February 2013, Argentina’s national airline announced their order for four Airbus A330-200s to renew and consolidate its widebody fleet.

With more than 850 aircraft sold and a backlog of nearly 400, more than 550 Airbus aircraft are in operation throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. In the last 10 years, Airbus has tripled its in-service fleet, while delivering more than 60 percent of all aircraft operating in the region.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Sister aircraft, Airbus A330-223 LV-FNL (msn 364) arrives in New York at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

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JetBlue Airways’ pilots request open contract negotiations under the Railway Labor Act

Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), representing the pilots of JetBlue Airways (New York) today issued this statement:

The pilots of JetBlue Airways, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), today sent official notice to company management requesting to open contract negotiations under the federal Railway Labor Act. The notice marks the first labor negotiations in the history of JetBlue from any segment of its workforce. Currently, JetBlue pilots are the only unionized workforce at the airline.

“Our negotiators have worked hard to prepare for this day and look forward to successful negotiations for a first contract,” said Capt. Jim Bigham, chairman of the JetBlue pilots’ Master Executive Council. “While we see the bargaining process as an opportunity to make positive changes for our pilots, we hold no illusions that this will be an easy process. However, while attaining our first labor agreement will require intense focus and commitment, we also will continue to work with management to ensure we contribute positively to JetBlue’s success.

“I’m optimistic about the group’s opportunities for success. We will work hard and efficiently, but we will also be careful and take the time necessary to assure that the final product is done right. All pilots have a right to expect this approach, and it will govern everything we do moving forward.”

The Association’s request to begin negotiations pursuant to the Railway Labor Act was sent by ALPA President Tim Canoll. Negotiations are scheduled to begin on March 31, 2015, in New York. Future negotiations will alternate between New York and Washington.

“We hope the attitude and atmosphere of cooperation and professionalism will prevail as we work to secure long overdue improvements to our existing working conditions,” said Bigham.

In April 2014, an overwhelming majority of JetBlue pilots voted to join ALPA in hopes of gaining a meaningful voice in their future and the certainty of a collective bargaining agreement. Contract negotiations in the airline industry are governed by the Railway Labor Act—the federal statute that sets the rules for collective bargaining, representation, and grievance processing in the airline and railroad industries.

Copyright Photo: Fred Freketic/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer ERJ 190-100 IGW N238JB (msn 19000039) arrives at New York’s JFK International Airport (JFK).

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