AER LINGUS has reported a record operating profit of E83m in the year ended December 2003, a 30% rise in full-year operating profits. The Irish flag carrier, a member of Oneworld, now considers itself as a low-fare player after nearly going bankrupt in 2001. Passenger numbers rose 6.2% to 6.6m in 2003, with the load factor up three points to 81%. The airline's transatlantic business, which was severely affected by a downturn in air travel following 11 September attacks, had a record year, with passenger numbers up nearly 20%. Aer Lingus said it was on track to complete its move to a single Airbus fleet by the end of 2005.