Aer Lingus has announced its results for the period 1st July to 30th September 2013, representing the third quarter (Q3) of the company’s 2013 financial year.
The company delivered a strong trading performance recording a Q3 operating profit of €94.9 million, up 4.4% on the previous year despite challenging conditions.
Total Aer Lingus revenue for the third quarter was up 1.2% to €466.3 million, while operating costs were effectively managed, increasing by only 0.4% to €371.4 million. The operating margin was 20.4%, an increase of 0.7 percentage points.
Over the three months, 2.913 million passengers were carried on short-haul and long-haul routes, down 0.9% on the same period in 2012. Long-haul performed particularly strongly with a 15.8% increase in passenger numbers and a 0.4 percentage point increase in load factor to 91.7%.
Short-haul passenger volumes were negatively affected by the good Irish summer weather, dropping 2.8% to 2.568 million, while the load factor dropped 1.7 percentage points to 82.0%.
Aer Lingus’s gross cash position at 30th September 2013 was €933.2 million, reflecting the airline’s continued balance sheet strength. The company expects that the full year operating profit will be around €60 million.
Christoph Mueller, Chief Executive, said: “Aer Lingus has delivered an operating profit of €94.9 million for Q3 2013, which is 4.4% ahead of prior year despite challenging conditions.
“As stated in our trading update on 13th September, good weather conditions and strong price competition have hurt our short-haul performance. However long-haul revenue growth was impressive and the market has absorbed the extra capacity we added on the North Atlantic this summer.
“We continued our tight cost management with operating costs increasing in the quarter by just 0.4% despite a 2.9% increase in capacity deployed and the costs of operating our wet lease business. However, I must again express my disappointment that the ongoing process to resolve pension issues continues to have a negative impact on our ability to deliver efficiencies and cost saving measures, particularly in respect of our recent voluntary severance programme.
“We do not expect any improvement in the short-haul environment for the rest of 2013, which remains characterised by heavily discounted fare offerings across Europe. The 2013 outlook on long-haul remains positive with the exception of some weakness expected in November, which was previously communicated. We maintain our current guidance for full year 2013 operating profit, before net exceptional items, to be around €60 million.”