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British Airways retires the Airbus A318, Iberia to retire the A340-600 as IAG reports first half results

Iberia Airbus A340-642 EC-JPU (msn 744) KBP (Robbie Shaw). Image: 950772.

International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) today (July 31, 2020) presented Group consolidated results for the six months to June 30, 2020.

The results for the six months were significantly impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19, which has had a devastating impact on the global airline and travel sectors, particularly from late February 2020 onwards.

COVID-19 situation and management actions:

  •   Most Group aircraft grounded in quarter 2, with small programme of passenger flights for essential travel and repatriation
  •   1,875 additional cargo flights operated in quarter 2 to transport critical equipment and essential supplies
  •   Additional operating procedures implemented to protect customers and staff including facemask use and additional cleaning
  •   Liquidity boosted by actions including accessing Spain’s Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO) facility and UK’s Coronavirus Corporate Finance Facility (CCFF). Also, British Airways’ Revolving Credit Facility extended and additional one-year bridge aircraft financing facilities agreed and implemented in quarter 2
  •   Multi-year renewal signed with American Express on July 24, including €830 million payment, a significant part of which is Avios pre-purchase
  •   Cash operating costs for quarter 2 reduced to €205 million per week, with April and May slightly lower than previously estimated at €195 million per week, despite additional cost of operating cargo-only flights
  •   Current capacity planning scenario for an increase through quarter 3 and quarter 4, to -74 percent and -46 percent versus 2019 respectively, but plans highly uncertain and subject to easing lockdowns and travel restrictions
  •   Based on our current capacity planning scenario, IAG would reach breakeven in terms of Net cash flows from operating activities during quarter 4 2020
  •   Government wage support schemes accessed in main employee bases and other measures agreed to reduce employee costs due to much-reduced flying program
  •   Capital spending for 2020 reduced by €1.5 billion, against the original plan, with 2020 fleet capital expenditure covered by committed financing
  •   Deliveries of 68 new aircraft due in 2020 to 2022 deferred and certain legacy aircraft retired early, including 32 Boeing 747s and 15 Airbus A340-600s
  •   IAG expects it will take until at least 2023 for passenger demand to recover to 2019 levels and is restructuring its cost-base to reduce each airline’s size, with consultations being undertaken locally as required
  •   Active discussions remain ongoing with Globalia regarding a potential restructuring of the Air Europa acquisition, taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Any agreed transaction would remain subject to regulatory clearances IAG period highlights on results:
  •   Passenger capacity operated in quarter 2 down 95.3 per cent on 2019 and for the six months down 56.2 percent on 2019
  •   Second quarter operating loss €1,365 million before exceptional items (2019 operating profit: €960 million) Note: Iberia is currently operating 3 A340-600s to Latin America: EC-IZY, ECJLE and EC-JNQ.
  •   Operating loss before exceptional items for the half year €1,900 million (2019 operating profit: €1,095 million)
  •   Exceptional charge in the half year of €2,137 million on derecognition of fuel and foreign exchange hedges for 2020 and impairment of fleet
  •   Loss after tax before exceptional items for the half year €1,965 million, and 2020 statutory loss after tax and exceptional items: €3,806 million (2019 profit: €806 million)
  •   Cash of €6,016 million at June 30, 2020 down €667 million on December 31, 2019. Committed and undrawn general and aircraft facilities were €2.1 billion, bringing total liquidity to €8.1 billionProposed capital increase:

 Proposed capital increase of up to €2.75 billion, to be supported by irrevocable commitment from largest shareholder and underwritten, subject to approval at General Shareholders’ Meeting in September

For definitions refer to the Alternative performance measures section.
1 The 2019 results include a reclassification of the costs the Group incurs in relation to compensation for flight delays and cancellations as a deduction from revenue as opposed to an operating expense. There is no change in operating profit. The amount reclassified for the period to June 30, 2019 was €63 million. Further information is given in note 1.
2 The prior year comparative is December 31, 2019.

Willie Walsh, IAG Chief Executive Officer, said:

“In quarter 2 we’re reporting a record operating loss of €1,365 million before exceptional items compared to an operating profit of €960 million last year. Total operating losses including exceptional items relating to the early retirement of British Airways’ Boeing 747s and Iberia’s Airbus A340s came to €2,177 million.

“We operated 1,875 cargo-only flights using passenger aircraft in quarter 2 which was an important cash contributor to the Group.

“All IAG airlines made substantial losses. As a result of government travel restrictions, quarter 2 passenger traffic fell by 98.4 per cent on a capacity reduction in the quarter of 95.3 per cent. We have seen evidence that demand recovers when government restrictions are lifted. Our airlines have put in place measures to provide additional reassurance to their customers and employees on board and at the airport.

“We continue to expect that it will take until at least 2023 for passenger demand to recover to 2019 levels. Each airline has taken actions to adjust their business and reduce their cost base to reflect forecast demand in their markets not just to get through this crisis but to ensure they remain competitive in a structurally changed industry.

“IAG continues to take action to strengthen its balance sheet and liquidity position including more than halving its operating cash costs and significantly reducing its capital spending. At the end of June liquidity stood at €8.1 billion. Based on our current capacity planning scenario, we would reach breakeven in terms of Net cash flows from operating activities during quarter 4 2020.

“Subject to shareholder approval at our AGM on September 8, IAG will undertake a capital increase of up to €2.75 billion which will enhance the Group’s resilience, balance sheet and liquidity position. We’re delighted that our largest shareholder, Qatar Airways, has already committed to support the proposed capital raising. This will best position IAG to continue executing its strategic objectives and capitalise on its existing market leading position and future growth and consolidation opportunities.”

In other news, British Airways has decided to drop the London (City) – New York Airbus A318 business route. The 32-seat A318s will be retired immediately. The unique route was last revenue flight was operated on March 18, 2020 (BA2 JFK-LCY with G-EUNA).

Video:

Top Copyright Photo: Iberia Airbus A340-642 EC-JPU (msn 744) KBP (Robbie Shaw). Image: 950772.

Iberia aircraft slide show: