BTN Europe presents an overview of business travel and MICE predictions for this year
British Airways owner International Airlines Group (IAG) has
reported a pre-tax loss of €535 million for the first quarter, with its
airlines continuing to deal with the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
When tax and the over-hedging of fuel and foreign exchange are
considered, the group’s loss deepens to €1.683 billion compared to a profit of €70
million in Q1 2019. Passenger revenue was down 14.5 per cent to €3.9 million.
The results come as BA prepares to cut up to 12,000 jobs
from its operation, while sister airlines Iberia and Vueling have agreed a €1 billion
loan backed by the Spanish government.
IAG chief executive Willie Walsh, who has now delayed his retirement to 24 September, said the group has made
progress on reducing its costs and increasing its cash reserves, telling
shareholders the company held €10 billion in liquidity at the end of April.
Walsh also said the world may see its airlines returning
soon. “We are planning for a meaningful return to service in July 2020 at the
earliest, depending on the easing of lockdowns travel restrictions around the
world. We will adapt our operating procedures to ensure our customers and our
people are properly protected in this new environment. We are working with the
various regulatory bodies and are confident that changes in regulations will
enable a safe and organised return to service. The industry will adapt to new
requirements in the same way that it has adapted to developments in security
requirements in the past.
“However, we do not expect passenger demand to recover to
the level of 2019 before 2023 at the earliest. This means group-wide
restructuring is essential in order to get through the crisis and preserve an
adequate level of liquidity. We intend to come out of the crisis as a stronger