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Aer Lingus posts €81m operating loss

Aer Lingus Group has released an unaudited trading update for the year ended 31 December 2009 indicating that losses deepened considerably last year.

The airline suffered a total revenue decline of 11.0% to €1,205.7 million compared with €1,355.0 million in 2008, with strong performance in ancillary revenues being offset by reduced passenger fare and cargo revenue. Capacity was reduced by 5.1% in 2009 but the total numbers of passengers was up 3.8% to 10.4 million.

The operating loss, before exceptional items, was €81.0 million, compared with €20.0 million in 2008. This represents an operating loss before exceptional items of €93.0 million in the first six months of 2009 followed by a second half operating profit before exceptional items of €12.0 million.

Aer Lingus released the brief trading update after it deferred the release of its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2009. Those preliminary results contained a restructuring charge consistent with the agreements reached with union representatives, and recommended by them to their members, in relation to the Company’s planned €97 million cost savings programme. Following the outcome of recent staff ballots, however, it has become necessary to revise the provision for restructuring costs and amend the preliminary results accordingly.

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