Airline passenger numbers for the group which owns British Airways have plunged to slightly more than a fifth of those flying in 2019 – despite the lifting of many Covid travel restrictions.
British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) has said its passenger capacity in the past three months was at 21.9 per cent of the levels it saw over the same period in 2019, amid the impact of travel restrictions and quarantine requirements.
The group, which also operates Iberia and Aer Lingus, said it expects passenger capacity for the third quarter of 2021 at around 45 per cent of 2019 levels but this remains “uncertain and subject to ongoing review”.
It posted an operating loss of £1.73 billion for the half-year to June 30, representing a reduction from the £3.45 billion loss it saw for the same period in 2020.
Luis Gallego, IAG’s chief executive officer, said: “In the short term, our focus is on ensuring our operational readiness, so we have the flexibility to capitalise on an environment where there’s evidence of widespread pent-up demand when travel restrictions are lifted.
“We know that recovery will be uneven, but we’re ready to take advantage of a surge in air travel demand in line with increasing vaccination rates.
“We welcome the recent announcement that fully vaccinated travellers from amber countries in the EU and the US will no longer have to quarantine upon arrival in the UK.
“We see this as an important first step in fully reopening the transatlantic travel corridor.”
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