British Airways is adding six Boeing 787-10 aircraft to its fleet in 2025 and 2026 to accelerate its premium wide-body capacity recovery, as its parent company International Airlines Group (IAG) announced soaring profits.

IAG reported a record first half operating profit before exceptional items of €1.2 billion (first half 2022: €446 million loss), an increase of €1.7 billion, with “sustained strong demand” across the network and “particular outperformance from our Spanish businesses”.

The group said there was a “challenging operating environment” in the UK and parts of Europe, but that the outlook for the summer was “encouraging”.

Pre-pandemic capacity for IAG by end of year

Luis Gallego, IAG CEO, said: “Our strong profits since the start of the year are helping to fund investment for our customers, and to improve our balance sheet by reducing debt. We are aiming to be back to pre-pandemic capacity at the end of this year.

“These results are thanks to a strong performance from all companies across the group, and we would like to thank our teams for their hard work during the year so far.

“Customer demand remains strong across the group, particularly for leisure travel, with around 80% of passenger revenue for the third quarter already booked. And our airlines have put in place plans to support operations during the busy summer period.”

Strong customer demand

IAG said both the North and South Atlantic markets were seeing strong customer demand and are expected to reach pre-Covid capacity by the end of this year.

British Airways is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels of non premium capacity in 2024, long-haul capacity by 2025 and premium capacity by 2026.

The group also said it would continue to focus on securing the required approvals for its acquisition of Air Europa, which is still expected to take between 18 to 24 months since the announcement of the transaction in February 2023.
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