International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) today (February 28, 2020) presented Group consolidated results for the year to December 31, 2019.
Fourth quarter operating profit of €765 million before exceptional items.
Operating profit before exceptional items for the year to December 31, 2019 of €3,285 million.
The earnings outlook is adversely affected by weaker demand as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19). We are currently experiencing demand weakness on Asian and European routes and a weakening of business travel across our network resulting from the cancellation of industry events and corporate travel restrictions.
In Asia, flights to Mainland China have been suspended. On January 29, British Airways suspended its daily flight to both Beijing and Shanghai and Iberia suspended its three times weekly service to Shanghai on January 31. In addition, some services on other Asian routes have been reduced. From February 13, British Airways reduced its daily Hong Kong service from two to one. From March 13, it will reduce its daily service to Seoul to 3-4 times weekly.
Some of the freed-up longhaul capacity is being redeployed to routes with stronger demand. British Airways has announced additional flights to India, South Africa and the US, while Iberia is increasing capacity on US and domestic routes.
Capacity on Italian routes for March has been significantly reduced through a combination of cancellations and change of aircraft gauge and further capacity reductions will be activated over the coming days. We also expect to make some capacity reductions across our wider shorthaul network. Shorthaul capacity is not being redeployed at this stage.
The net impact of current flight cancellations and redeployed capacity is to lower IAG’s FY 2020 planned capacity by approximately 1 per cent in terms of available seat kilometres to 2 per cent for the year. Our operating companies will continue to take mitigating actions to better match supply to demand in line with the evolving situation. Cost and revenue initiatives are being implemented across the business.
IAG is resilient with a strong balance sheet and substantial cash liquidity to withstand the current weakness. We have a management team experienced in similar situations and have demonstrated that we can respond quickly to changing market conditions. We are strongly positioned for the expected recovery in demand.
Given the ongoing uncertainty on the potential impact and duration of COVID-19, it is not possible to give accurate profit guidance for FY 2020 at this stage.