British Airways owner IAG reports first-quarter profit

British Airways Image copyright AFP

IAG, the airline group that includes British Airways and Iberia, has reported a profit in the first quarter of the year for the first time.

The company posted an operating profit of €25m (£18m; $27.8m) for the January-to-March period, compared with a loss of €150m a year earlier.

Its results were helped by lower costs, including a drop in the price of fuel.

Chief executive Willie Walsh said there had been a "strong improvement" across the group.

"This is IAG's first-ever quarter-one operating profit in what is traditionally the weakest quarter of the year," he said.

Revenue at the firm, which also owns budget airline Vueling, rose 12% to €4.7bn.

IAG says that - at current fuel prices and exchange rates - it expects to report operating profits "in excess" of €2.2bn this year.

The airline group made no comment in its results statement about its attempt to buy Irish airline Aer Lingus.

Progress on the deal has halted while the Irish government decides whether to sell its 25% stake in the airline.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Walsh said: "It's not a distraction for us so from that point of view we're not under any pressure, nor are we intending to put any pressure on anybody involved in the process."

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