British Airways owner International Airlines Group (IAG) has reported strong group traffic in July, leading to an increase in revenue.

The group, which includes Aer Lingus, BA, Iberia, Vueling and its new low-cost carrier Level, carried a total of nearly 10.8 million passengers in July, an increase of 6.9 per cent year on year.

On 17 July, Level launched short-haul operations from Vienna, where it will eventually fly to 14 European destinations – including Gatwick – with four A321 aircraft. Earlier in the month, the carrier started flights from Paris Orly to Montreal and Guadeloupe.

IAG recently appointed ex-Flybe chief strategy officer Vincent Hodder as the new CEO of Level.

Off the back of the growth in passenger numbers, IAG reported a 24.8 per cent increase in profits for the first half of 2018 to €835 million (about £743.9 million).

­Despite the good news, IAG CEO Willie Walsh warned its airlines still face challenges from continuing problems with air traffic control staff shortages and strikes across Europe.

Walsh said: “There was a strong performance in both unit revenue and costs. At constant currency, our passenger unit revenue increased by 2.3 per cent while non-fuel unit costs went down 2 per cent.

“Unfortunately, French air traffic control strikes continued to challenge our airlines’ operations, causing disruption to our customers. Vueling was particularly affected and incurred an additional €20 million of disruption costs in the quarter. These strikes are also having a significant negative impact on the Spanish economy and tourism.

“We are committed to accelerating Level’s growth and its fleet will increase to a total of seven A330-200 aircraft in Paris and Barcelona next year.”

IAG says it expects to see an increase in profit for the full year.

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