International Airlines Group (IAG) has posted a strong profit for the opening months of 2015.
The organisation, which includes the likes of British Airways and Iberia, announced a €25 million (£18 million) operating profit for the January to March period. It is a significant improvement on the loss of €150 million recorded at the same time last year. Officials explained that the results were boosted by lower costs and a reduction fuel prices.
In IAG's latest trading update, it stated that revenue for the period was up 12 per cent and was up to €4.7 billion with a 3.7 per cent constant currency rate. Passenger unit revenue had increased by 6.9 per cent while fuel unit costs had fallen by 4.5 per cent.
The company explained that should fuel prices and exchange rate remain at their current level then it expects to make an operating profit in excess of €2.2 billion by the end of the year. It remains to be seen whether Easter will boost figures for the second quarter.
Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive officer, said: "IAG made an operating profit of €25 million compared to a €150 million operating loss last year. This is IAG's first ever quarter 1 operating profit in what is traditionally the weakest quarter of the year. There was a strong improvement both at a Group level and with all three airlines."
Aer Lingus takeover in the air
IAG has long been in negotiations to purchase Irish carrier Aer Lingus. The deal is currently in limbo as the Irish government has stalled on its decision to grant the British Airways owner a 25 per cent stake in the company.
The acquisition is in regards to Aer Lingus' prominence at Heathrow Airport. Only British Airways, Lufthansa and Virgin Atlantic has more take-off and landing slots at London's largest airport than Aer Lingus and IAG wants to tap into this.
IAG made no comment on its attempt to buy the firm.