Despite operating well below capacity, BA owner International Airlines Group (IAG) declared a post-pandemic quarterly profit for the three months to June 30.
The group said it made an operating profit of €293 million ($299m) between April and June, compared with a €967m loss during the same period last year.
IAG chief executive Luis Gallego said business and premium travel had recovered. “In the second quarter we returned to profit for the first time since the start of the pandemic following a strong recovery in demand across all our airlines,” he said.
“This result supports our outlook for a full-year operating profit.
“Our performance reflected a significant increase in capacity, load factor and yield compared to the first quarter.
“Premium leisure remains strong while business travel continues a steady recovery in all airlines.”
IAG said the “challenging operational environment at Heathrow” meant British Airways’ capacity was limited to 69.1 per cent of pre-pandemic levels between April and June.
That is compared with 57.4 per cent during the previous three months.
The airline, which has cancelled tens of thousands of flights this summer, plans to increase its capacity to about 75 per cent between July and October.
IAG, which also owns Iberia and Aer Lingus, expects overall passenger capacity to be about 80 per cent between July and October, and 85 per cent for the final quarter of the year.
That is a reduction of 5 per cent for the second half of 2022 compared with previous guidance, which the group said is “mainly due to the challenges at Heathrow”.