Aer Lingus reports €49.1m operating profit for 2011

Aer Lingus made an operating profit of €49.1 million, which with exceptional items and net interest, created a profit before tax of €84.4 million compared with €27.2 million in 2010.

“This is the second year of profitability under our new strategy,” declared the airline’s CEO Christoph Mueller. “Among European carriers, only Ryanair and easyJet have higher EBIT margin performance.”

Fare yield per seat grew in 2011 by 5.5% from €62.63 to €66.09 on the short-haul network and by 3.9% from €236.61 to €247.99 on long-haul. The retail spend per customer was €17.73, up €0.06.

Traffic across all Irish airports grew by 2% in 2011, noted Mueller, but Aer Lingus increased its traffic at those airports by 4% (including the Aer Lingus Regional services operated by Aer Arann).

Fuel conservation measures under Aer Lingus’s Greenfield programme saved the company at least €5 million in 2011, Mueller noted. These savings came in areas such as fuel management, procurement and lean initiatives in engineering and maintenance.

Looking ahead, Mueller said that capacity in 2012 will be flat for third year in a row. He expects the airline to be profitable this year but at a level below that of 2011.

Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare &Regional Airlines/
London, UK

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