The Madrid-based International Airlines Group (IAG) which owns British Airways and Spanish flag carrier Iberia says there is currently “no indication of weakness” in forward bookings despite fears that rising inflation, a cost of living crisis and Covid uncertainty could significantly dent ticket sales over the coming months.
The European aviation group, which also owns a slew of other airline brands including Ireland’s Aer Lingus, and Spanish discounter Vueling, says it expects to announce an operating profit of around €1.2 billion later this month as a result of better-than-expected passenger revenue.
“Forward bookings remain at expected levels for the time of year, with no indication of weakness, and accordingly our fourth quarter expectations remain unchanged as of today,” the company announced on Thursday.
Budget rival easyJet also said on Thursday that load factors were currently ahead of pre-pandemic levels in 2019 and that yields remained “robust” despite swirling economic uncertainty.
But the owner of British Airways’ main hub at Heathrow Airport said it still had doubts over the demand outlook, citing a raft of issues including the possibility of a new COVID-19 variant and the war in Ukraine that could have a significant negative impact on travel demand.
Some European carriers, including Heathrow-based Virgin Atlantic and transatlantic newcomer Norse Atlantic, are increasingly appealing to American customers because the strength of the U.S. dollar is making Europe and the UK so affordable right now.
Norse Atlantic said on Thursday that American travellers looking for a vacation could save hundreds of dollars by jetting off to Europe this winter instead of booking more expensive domestic fares.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.