Category Archives: IAG

IAG further reduces capacity by 90% and accesses job retention and wage support schemes

IAG has made this announcement:

International Airlines Group (IAG) continues to take every action to reduce operating expenses and improve cash flow.

On March 16, 2020, IAG announced that it would reduce capacity, expressed in terms of available seat kilometers, by at least 75 percent in April and May compared to the same period in 2019. In recent weeks, IAG’s airlines have been helping to repatriate customers throughout the world and to conduct cargo flights delivering vital medical equipment and supplies, food and other products to combat COVID-19 and keep global supply chains moving.

Following a review, IAG has decided to reduce capacity further to an approximately 90 percent reduction in April and May compared to last year.

British Airways accesses UK Job Retention Scheme

As a result of the significant decline in flying, British Airways is making use of the UK’s COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme to help UK-based employees placed on furlough. It has today reached agreement with trade unions, GMB and Unite, to apply this scheme to more than 30,000 cabin crew and ground-based employees in April and May. Under this scheme, furloughed employees will receive 80 per cent of their base pay and of certain allowances. This agreement is subject to union ratification.

British Airways has also reached agreement with its 4,000 pilots to take four weeks of unpaid leave in April and May.

IAG’s other airlines have received support from similar job retention and wage support schemes for more than 17,000 employees in Spain and are seeking similar support in Ireland.

Stephen Gunning
Chief Financial Officer
April 2, 2020

British Airways aircraft photo gallery (Airbus):

IAG’s airlines to reduce capacity by 75%

IAG has issued this statement:

The rapid spread of COVID-19, and associated government travel restrictions and advisories are having a significant and increasingly negative impact on the demand for global air traffic on almost all routes operated by IAG’s airlines.

To date IAG has suspended flights to China, reduced capacity on Asian routes, cancelled all flights to, from and within Italy and made various changes to our network.

The US Presidential announcement to restrict entry of foreign nationals who have been in countries in the Schengen Area, the UK and Ireland has added to the uncertainty on North Atlantic routes. In addition, many other countries have banned or are restricting inward travel including Argentina, Chile, India and Peru. Spain has also been the subject of travel advisories, for example by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

IAG is implementing further initiatives in response to this challenging market environment. Capacity, in terms of available seat kilometres, in the first quarter of 2020 is now expected to be reduced by around 7.5 percent compared to last year. For April and May, the Group plans to reduce capacity by at least 75 percent compared to the same period in 2019.

IAG is also taking actions to reduce operating expenses and improve cash flow. These include grounding surplus aircraft, reducing and deferring capital spending, cutting non-essential and non-cyber related IT spend, freezing recruitment and discretionary spending, implementing voluntary leave options, temporarily suspending employment contracts and reducing working hours.

Given the continued uncertainty on the potential impact and duration of COVID-19, it is still not possible to give accurate profit guidance for the full year 2020.

The Group has strong liquidity with cash, cash equivalents and interest-bearing deposits of €7.35 billion as at March 12, 2020. In addition, undrawn general and committed aircraft backed financing facilities amount to €1.9 billion, resulting in total liquidity of €9.3 billion.

Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive, said: “We have seen a substantial decline in bookings across our airlines and global network over the past few weeks and we expect demand to remain weak until well into the summer. We are therefore making significant reductions to our flying schedules. We will continue to monitor demand levels and we have the flexibility to make further cuts if necessary. We are also taking actions to reduce operating expenses and improve cash flow at each of our airlines. IAG is resilient with a strong balance sheet and substantial cash liquidity.”

In light of the exceptional circumstances facing the aviation industry due to COVID-19, and in particular the developing situation in Spain, it has been decided that Luis Gallego will continue in his role as Iberia chief executive for the next few months to lead the response in Spain. In the meantime, Willie Walsh will continue to act as Group chief executive and Javier Sanchez will remain in place as Vueling chief executive.

Antonio Vázquez, IAG´s chairman, said: “As we respond to COVID-19, Willie, Luis and the board of IAG have decided that management stability across the Group should be a priority in the near term. We are grateful that Willie has agreed to delay his retirement for a short period at this challenging time.”

Stephen Gunning
Chief Financial Officer

Iberia aircraft photo gallery:

IAG reports its full-year 2019 financial results, gives guidance for the coronavirus

International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) today (February 28, 2020) presented Group consolidated results for the year to December 31, 2019.

Fourth quarter operating profit of €765 million before exceptional items.

Operating profit before exceptional items for the year to December 31, 2019 of €3,285 million.

Read the full report.

Trading outlook

The earnings outlook is adversely affected by weaker demand as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19). We are currently experiencing demand weakness on Asian and European routes and a weakening of business travel across our network resulting from the cancellation of industry events and corporate travel restrictions.

In Asia, flights to Mainland China have been suspended. On January 29, British Airways suspended its daily flight to both Beijing and Shanghai and Iberia suspended its three times weekly service to Shanghai on January 31. In addition, some services on other Asian routes have been reduced. From February 13, British Airways reduced its daily Hong Kong service from two to one. From March 13, it will reduce its daily service to Seoul to 3-4 times weekly.

Some of the freed-up longhaul capacity is being redeployed to routes with stronger demand. British Airways has announced additional flights to India, South Africa and the US, while Iberia is increasing capacity on US and domestic routes.

Capacity on Italian routes for March has been significantly reduced through a combination of cancellations and change of aircraft gauge and further capacity reductions will be activated over the coming days. We also expect to make some capacity reductions across our wider shorthaul network. Shorthaul capacity is not being redeployed at this stage.

The net impact of current flight cancellations and redeployed capacity is to lower IAG’s FY 2020 planned capacity by approximately 1 per cent in terms of available seat kilometres to 2 per cent for the year. Our operating companies will continue to take mitigating actions to better match supply to demand in line with the evolving situation. Cost and revenue initiatives are being implemented across the business.

IAG is resilient with a strong balance sheet and substantial cash liquidity to withstand the current weakness. We have a management team experienced in similar situations and have demonstrated that we can respond quickly to changing market conditions. We are strongly positioned for the expected recovery in demand.

Given the ongoing uncertainty on the potential impact and duration of COVID-19, it is not possible to give accurate profit guidance for FY 2020 at this stage.

Qatar Airways increases its share of IAG

Qatar Airways following the failure of Air Italy, has increased its share of the IAG Group. The airline issued this short statement:

Qatar Airways Group Q.C.S.C. is pleased to announce that it has increased its shareholding in International Consolidated Airlines Group, S.A. (IAG) from 21.4 percent to 25.1 percent.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Mr. Akbar Al Baker stated, “Our investment to date has been highly successful and the announced increase in our shareholding is evidence of our continued support of IAG and its strategy.”

“Qatar Airways continues to consider opportunities to invest in airlines and support management teams that share our vision to enhance travel opportunities for airline passengers across the globe.”

IAG’s Willie Walsh to retire

International Airlines Group (IAG) announces that Willie Walsh has decided to retire as chief executive. He will stand down from the role and from the Board of IAG on March 26, 2020 and will retire on June 30, 2020. Luis Gallego, currently Iberia chief executive, will succeed Willie.

Antonio Vázquez, IAG chairman, said: “Willie has led the merger and successful integration of British Airways and Iberia to form IAG.  Under Willie’s leadership IAG has become one of the leading global airline groups.

“Willie has been the main driver of this unique idea that is IAG. I hugely admire his commitment, strong leadership and clear vision, always ready to take on whatever challenges lay ahead of him. I am deeply respectful of what he has achieved as CEO of this Group, of his sense of fairness, his transparency and his capacity to integrate people regardless of nationalities or backgrounds.

“Willie has established a strong management team and I am delighted that Luis will be promoted from this team to succeed Willie as CEO. Luis started his career in the airline industry in 1997 with Air Nostrum and, since 2014, he has been CEO of Iberia where he has led a profound transformation of this airline. The Board is confident that Luis is the right person to lead IAG in the next stage of its development and we look forward to working closely with Luis in his new role”.

Willie Walsh said: “It has been a privilege to have been instrumental in the creation and development of IAG. I have had the pleasure of working with many exceptional people over the past 15 years at British Airways and at IAG. Luis has been a core member of the team and has shown true leadership over the years and I have no doubt he will be a great CEO of IAG“.

Luis Gallego said: “It has been a great pleasure to work with Willie over the last seven years. It is a huge honour to lead this great company. It is an exciting time at IAG and I am confident that we can build on the strong foundations created by Willie“.

Luis Gallego’s successor at Iberia will be announced in due course.

IAG to acquire Air Europa for €1 billion, Air Europa to be run by Iberia

International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) and Globalia are pleased to announce that definitive transaction agreements have been signed under which IAG’s wholly owned subsidiary, IB OPCO Holding S.L. (Iberia), has agreed to acquire the entire issued share capital of Air Europa for €1 billion to be satisfied in cash at Completion  and subject to a closing accounts adjustment.

Highlights

  • Transforms IAG’s Madrid hub into a true rival to Europe’s four largest hubs: Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London Heathrow and Paris Charles De Gaulle.
  • Re-establishes IAG as a leader in the highly attractive Europe to Latin America and Caribbean market.
  • Offers significant synergy potential in terms of cost and revenue.
  • EPS accretive in the first full year and accretive to IAG’s return on invested capital by the fourth year after Completion.
  • Completion is expected to take place in H2 2020 following receipt of relevant approvals.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Willie Walsh, Chief Executive of IAG, said:

“Acquiring Air Europa would add a new competitive, cost effective airline to IAG, consolidating Madrid as a leading European hub and resulting in IAG achieving South Atlantic leadership, therefore generating additional financial value for our shareholders.

IAG has a strong track record of successful acquisitions, most recently with the acquisition of Aer Lingus in 2015 and we are convinced Air Europa presents a strong strategic fit for the group.”

Javier Hidalgo, Chief Executive of Globalia, said:

“For Globalia, the incorporation of Air Europa to IAG implies the strengthening of the company’s present and future that will maintain the path followed by Air Europa in the last years. We are convinced that the incorporation of Air Europa to a group such as IAG, who over all these years has demonstrated its support to the development of airlines within the group and the Madrid hub, will be a success”.

Luis Gallego, Chief Executive of Iberia, said:

“This is of strategic importance for the Madrid hub, which in recent years has lagged behind other European hubs. Following this agreement, Madrid will be able to compete with other European hubs on equal terms with a better position on Europe to Latin America routes and the possibility to become a gateway between Asia and Latin America.”

Strategic rationale

Air Europa is one of the leading private airlines in Spain, operating scheduled domestic and international flights to 69 destinations, including European and long-haul routes to Latin America, the United States of America, the Caribbean and North Africa. In 2018, Air Europa generated revenue of €2.1 billion and an operating profit of €100 million. It carried 11.8 million passengers in 2018 and ended the year with a fleet of 66 aircraft.

The Board of IAG believes that the transaction would:

  • Increase the importance of IAG’s Madrid hub, transforming it into a true rival to Europe’s big four hubs: Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London Heathrow and Paris Charles De Gaulle;
  • Unlock further network growth opportunities and re-establish IAG’s South Atlantic leadership; and
  • Result in significant customer benefits through providing increased

The Air Europa brand will initially be retained and the company will remain as a standalone profit center within Iberia run by Iberia CEO Luis Gallego. The managements of IAG and Iberia anticipate opportunities to unlock value through the Acquisition across three key areas:

  • Integrating Air Europa into the existing Iberia hub structure at Madrid;
  • Creating commercial links between Air Europa and other IAG operating companies, in addition to inclusion into IAG’s joint businesses;
  • Integrating Air Europa onto the IAG platform of common services.

Synergies and financial impact

The Acquisition is expected to generate cost synergies across selling, general and administrative expenses, procurement, handling and distribution costs with full run-rate synergies to be achieved by 2025. IAG expects implementation costs to be phased over the same period.

In addition, the Acquisition is expected to generate significant revenue synergies by 2025, including:

  • Adding reciprocal intra-group codeshares across all connecting gateways;
  • Adjusting timings to maximise connectivity through the Madrid hub;
  • Aligning commercial policies and integrating sales forces in home markets;
  • Integrating Air Europa into existing IAG joint businesses; and
  • Integrating Air Europa into the Avios currency for loyalty.

The Acquisition is expected to be earnings accretive in the first full year following Completion and accretive to IAG’s return on invested capital within four years after Completion.

Financing and expected timetable

The Acquisition will be funded by external debt. After Completion, IAG’s net debt to EBITDA is expected to be 0.3 times higher as a result of the Acquisition compared to 1.2 times last reported at the end of Q3 2019.

Assuming satisfaction of all conditions to the Acquisition, Completion is expected to take place in 2H 2020.

IAG has agreed to pay Air Europa a break fee of €40 million in the event that the transaction fails to receive the necessary regulatory approvals and either party elects to terminate the transaction agreement.

The Acquisition constitutes a Class 2 transaction for the purposes of the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s Listing Rules and, as such, does not require IAG’s shareholders’ approval. The gross assets of Air Europa at 31 December 2018 were €901 million. The pre-tax profits attributable to Air Europa for the year ended 31 December 2018 were €67 million.

Steve Gunning

Chief Financial Officer

November 4, 2019

Air Europa aircraft photo gallery:

IAG backs the Airbus A321XLR with an order for 14 aircraft

International Airlines Group (IAG) has selected the Airbus A321XLR to expand its fleet of highly efficient single aisles with a firm order for 14 aircraft. Of these, eight are destined for Iberia and six for Aer Lingus.

IAG, the parent company of leading airlines also including British Airways, Level and Vueling, is one of Airbus’s largest customers and this agreement will take the overall order from the group to 530 aircraft. IAG airlines combined operate one of the world’s largest Airbus fleets with over 400 aircraft.

The aircraft will enable Aer Lingus to launch new routes beyond the US East Coast and Canada. For Iberia, this is a new aircraft type that will enable it to operate new transatlantic destinations and increase frequencies in key markets.

Images: Airbus.