Aer Lingus reports increase in 1Q revenue

Aer Lingus’s results for the first quarter of its 2013 financial year from 1 January to 31 March 2013 (1Q13), show that the company delivered an increase in revenue of 3.3%, up to €259.7 million, from €251.5 million in 1Q12.

Total passenger numbers in 1Q13 (including Aer Lingus Regional) increased by 2.2%, whilst the overall yield per passenger increased by 3.7%. Long haul yields remained strong, increasing by 5.6% on the previous year. Fare revenue per seat for the first quarter was 6.5% higher year-on-year.

Aer Lingus noted that the first quarter is seasonally lossmaking, and it recorded an operating loss before exceptional items of €45.5 million, €9.4 million higher than last year. This was largely put down to the start-up costs for the Virgin Atlantic Little Red wet lease operation in the UK, planned changes to the long haul fleet and slightly weaker trading on UK routes.

Aer Lingus’s gross cash at 31 March 2013 was €1.01 billion, a €104.9 million increase in the three months since December 2012. The company expects 2013 operating profits to be broadly in line with levels achieved in 2012.

“We are particularly pleased with the performance of our long haul business which is up 14.4% on the prior year. It has, however, been a challenging start to 2013 with higher fuel, airport and one-off costs, together with slightly weaker trading on UK routes,” commented Christoph Mueller, Aer Lingus’s CEO. “While we had expected increased operating costs in the first quarter, the 1Q13 performance highlights the need to continue to review our cost base to protect profitability for the rest of 2013 and beyond. In line with the ongoing requirement to streamline our organisation structure and identify cost saving initiatives, we are launching a voluntary severance programme, with a goal of reducing headcount by approximately 100 staff by the year end.

“Trends identified in 1Q13 including higher airport charges, the strength of long haul and softness in GBP and our UK market have the potential to remain a feature for the rest of the year. On that basis, we currently expect 2013 operating profit, before exceptional items, to be broadly in line with last year,” Mueller remarked.

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