British Airways’ owner IAG has enjoyed its most profitable first quarter in its six-year history as corporate bookings improved.

The company, which also owns Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, made an operating profit of €170 million, excluding exceptional items, for the quarter ending on March 31. This was a 9.7 per cent increase on the profit of €155 million that IAG made during the same quarter in 2016.

The higher profit came despite a 2.8 per cent fall in total revenue to €4.9 billion for the quarter with passenger revenue falling by 4.2 per cent to €4.3 billion.

IAG said these revenue figures were affected by Easter falling in April this year compared to being in March in 2016, which caused yields to drop on leisure-orientated routes. Although this Easter factor was “partially offset by improvements in corporate bookings”.

Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive officer, said: “This is a record performance in Q1, traditionally our weakest quarter, with the improving trend in passenger unit revenue continuing.”
 
Walsh also said that IAG’s new long-haul, low-cost airline Level, which starts flights from Barcelona next month, has “already been extremely successful with sales running well ahead of expectations”.

Level will begin flights from Barcelona to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Punta Cana and Buenos Aires in June.

 

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