IAG lifts third quarter operating profits to €690 million

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British Airways and Iberia parent IAG has posted improved operating profits of €690 million ($930 million) for the third quarter before exceptional items, compared with €270 million at the same stage last year.

Profits for the quarter were led by British Airways, which posted an operating profit of €477 million for the three months ending September. This is an improvement on the €268 million recorded in the same quarter last year. "Its performance continues to benefit from a strong London and transatlantic market as well as a €100 million revenue bounce-back from the Olympic effect last year. In addition, the airline has maintained its focus on cost control," says IAG chief executive Willie Walsh.

Iberia posted a €74 million operating profit in the third quarter compared to an operating profit of €1 million last year. While Walsh notes this is an improved performance, he adds: "The airline must continue to implement its restructuring plan and reach agreement on productivity changes to bring about long term sustainable profits and growth."

The figures also includes Spanish low--cost carrier Vueling for the first time, which contributed an operating profit of €139 million for the third quarter.

IAG group revenues increased nearly 7% in the quarter to €5.4 billion in the third quarter.

Group operating profits for the first nine months reach €657 million before exceptional items compared with €17 million at the same stage last year - and €348 million including exceptional costs.

IAG is forecasting an operating profit for 2013, before exceptional items, of around €740 million.