IAG sees strong unit revenue gains from transatlantic

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International Airlines Group chief executive Willie Walsh is citing continued tight industry-wide capacity discipline as a key factor in the strong improvement in the unit revenues reported in the first quarter on transtlantic routes.

The British Airways and Iberia parent's passenger unit revenues on the North Atlantic increased more than 7% in the first quarter on capacity cut 4% over the same period last year. Speaking during IAG's first quarter results conference call today, Walsh said the carrier was happy with its existing capacity on its transatlantic route. "We don't see any need to adjust capacity. I think [industry] capacity discipline on the transatlantic has been on the most positive features we've seen in the last 24 months. We believe we have appropriate capacity."

"One of the things that will effect our capacity is the A380s going on the LA route," says Walsh. London Heathrow-Los Angeles is one of two routes the airline has identified for the ultra-large aircraft, which it will debut on the service in October. "But at the moment we are very comfortable with the capacity we have. We think it is having a good effect on unit revenues think its the right approach," he adds.

Walsh also believes capacity discipline will continue among rivals on the route. "I don't see anybody doing any silly on the North Atlantic," he says.