Aer Lingus 3Q13 operating profit rises to €94.9 million

Aer Lingus has announced that for the period ended 30 September 2013, the third quarter (3Q13) of the company’s financial year, the company delivered an operating profit of €94.9 million, up 4.4% on the previous year.
The total Aer Lingus revenue for 3Q13 was up 1.2% to €466.3 million, while operating costs were effectively managed, increasing by only 0.4% to €371.4 million. The operating margin was 20.4%, an increase of 0.7 percentage points.
During 3Q13, 2,913,000 passengers were carried on short haul and long haul routes, down 0.9% on the same period in 2012. Long haul performed strongly with a 15.8% increase in passenger numbers and a 0.4 percentage point increase in load factor to 91.7%.
Short haul passenger volumes were negatively affected by the good Irish summer weather dropping 2.8% to 2,568,000, while the load factor dropped 1.7 percentage points to 82.0%.
Aer Lingus’s gross cash position at 30 September 2013 was €933.2 million, reflecting the airline’s continued balance sheet strength. The company says it expects that the full year operating profit will be around €60 million.
Commenting on the 3Q13 performance Christoph Mueller, Aer Lingus’s CEO noted, “As stated in our trading update on 13 September, good weather conditions and strong price competition have hurt our short haul performance. However long haul revenue growth was impressive and the market has absorbed the extra capacity we added on the North Atlantic this summer.
“We continued our tight cost management with operating costs increasing in the quarter by just 0.4% despite a 2.9% increase in capacity deployed and the costs of operating our wet lease business,” Mueller added. “However, I must again express my disappointment that the ongoing process to resolve pension issues continues to have a negative impact on our ability to deliver efficiencies and cost saving measures, particularly in respect of our recent voluntary severance programme.
“We do not expect any improvement in the short-haul environment for the rest of 2013 which remains characterised by heavily discounted fare offerings across Europe. The 2013 outlook on long-haul remains positive with the exception of some weakness expected in November which was previously communicated. We maintain our current guidance for full year 2013 operating profit, before net exceptional items, to be around €60 million,” Mueller concluded.

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