Speaking at the Centre for Aviation (CAPA) conference in Amsterdam on Tuesday, Walsh hit out at the European Commission, accusing it of allowing governments to breach rules on state aid. He also slammed the UK government over its handling of visas for Chinese visitors.
Walsh said: “The EU has strict rules on state aid, but it’s weak. Its terrible governments intervene to support airlines which don’t deserve to survive.” He did not refer to Alitalia by name but appeared to have the carrier in mind when he said: “Europe would benefit from consolidation due to failure.”
He described BA sister carrier Iberia, where IAG has overseen major job losses and restructuring, as “a classic example of an airline that hadn’t faced up to structural changes in the industry”.
Walsh said: “Iberia will return to profit next year. We’re making good progress. But it won’t be profitable enough to justify investment so there will be further restructuring.” He added:
“We have to continue to transform BA, but BA will grow at about 3% a year. Iberia won’t grow unless we see structural change.”
Asked about growth to China, he said: “BA’s ambition is to serve several destinations in China. There are a lot of cities where we see opportunities if we get a [UK] visa regime that is fit for purpose.
“The UK attitude to China is old fashioned. The government prioritises trade with China but makes it so difficult to visit Britain from China … There is much more freedom at the Chinese end [of the route] than ours.”
Sourced from Travel Weekly
Press Release by Cardiff Airport
All flights from Cardiff operated by Vueling, which is part of British Airways’ parent company IAG, can now be booked on http://www.britishairways.com.
Cardiff Airport’s Chief Executive, Jon Horne, said: “It’s great news that passengers from Wales and the West can now access flights through the British Airways booking system, along with all the associated benefits, such as 23kg hold luggage included in the cost and the ability for BA Executive Club members to collect Avios loyalty points.”
Also, following a second successful year at Wales’ national airport for the leading Spanish airline, Vueling has launched the second phase of its Summer 2014 programme from Cardiff and re-launched direct flights to Barcelona. It has also launched its first winter programme from Cardiff, with additional flights to Malaga and Alicante, in response to demand from winter sun seekers and holiday home owners travelling from Wales and the West.
The first flight from the Welsh capital to Barcelona will leave on Friday 11th April and will run every Friday and Sunday from April until October, with an additional Wednesday flight during August to meet the demand of travellers keen to sample Gaudi, cava and tapas. Flights are already on sale at www.britishairways.com and www.vueling.com, with single fares from €34.99.
These new flights to Barcelona-El Prat follow an increase in Vueling’s services during summer 2013 which saw the airline flying from Cardiff to Alicante, Malaga and Palma Majorca as well as Barcelona.
“We are delighted to be continuing to offer flights from Cardiff Airport to Barcelona, a city of art, culture and some of the most beautiful and lively beaches on the Spanish mainland”, said Jon Horne, “and it’s pleasing to see that Vueling’s passenger numbers are increasing in line with the overall upward trend we’re experiencing at the Airport.
“We’ve been listening to what our passengers have been saying about where they want to go and at what times of the year, so we’re expecting flights with Vueling to be extremely popular. The added benefits and convenience of being able to book via the British Airways website will no doubt appeal to a lot of people too.”
By Patrick Whyte
The parent company of British Airways has raised its earnings target for 2015 by 12.5% on the back of improved performances in its UK and Spanish units.
International Airlines Group is now targeting and operating profit of €1.8 billion up from €1.6 billion.
It said that an improved performance at struggling Spanish airline Iberia and growth at both BA and Vueling would help fuel the increase.
IAG’s guidance was due to be presented at a capital markets day.
Earlier this month, the company announced that operating profit in its third quarter rose by 156% to €690 million, which helped increase overall pre-tax profits by 148% to €606 million.
Sourced from TTG Digital
By Rob Gill,
Vueling is likely to open more bases around Europe in the next few months, according to the boss of parent company IAG.
The Barcelona-based carrier, which was purchased by IAG earlier this year, last week announced it would be opening a new base in Brussels from May 2014.
IAG chief executive Willie Walsh hinted that Vueling was likely to take advantage of “opportunities in other parts of Europe”.
“Do not be surprised if you see more Vueling bases announced in the months ahead,” added Walsh during a conference call with analysts.
“Vueling has great flexibility and speed of reaction to market opportunities. Vueling also has a product that’s superior against its principal low-cost competitors.”
But Walsh suggested that Vueling was not looking at Madrid as a potential new airport base.
“I don’t think Vueling needs to create a hub at Madrid – there are plenty of other opportunities that are more attractive than Madrid,” he said. “We already have a presence at Madrid in any case.”
Vueling is planning to expand at Seville from April 2014 with new routes to Palma, Asturias, Nantes and Lyon.
Meanwhile rapidly expanding carrier Norwegian, which is planning to fly from Gatwick to the US from next summer, is also to establish a base at Madrid from June 2014.
The airline will operate six routes from Madrid including daily flights to Gatwick, as well as services to Oslo, Warsaw, Hamburg, Helsinki and Stockholm.
Sourced by bbt
By Patrick Whyte
British Airways parent company, International Airlines Group has seen its profits more than double on the back of an improved performance at Spanish airline Iberia and a rebound from last year’s Olympics.
Operating profit in its third quarter rose by 156% to €690 million, which helped increase overall pre-tax profits by 148% to €606 million.
IAG has been battling to turnaround Iberia and last November instigated a transformation plan to return it to profitability. In the three months to the end of September, the Madrid-based airline recorded an operating profit of €74 million.
Profits at BA rose by €209 million to €477 million, which the IAG chief executive Willie Walsh put down to strong London and transatlantic markets and a “€100 million revenue bounce-back from the Olympic effect last year”.
“These are strong results with an operating profit in the quarter of €690 million. The Group’s revenue was up 6.9 per cent and overall costs were down 1.5 per cent. At constant currency, passenger unit revenue was up 6.7 per cent and non-fuel unit costs were down 4.3 per cent,” said Walsh
The improved set of figures has led IAG to boost its outlook for the full year. It now expects “an operating profit for 2013, before exceptional items, of around €740 million.”
Sourced by TTG Digital
The deal was said to be worth £392 million and represented a 13% premium to Heathrow’s Regulatory Asset Base which is used to value the airport, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Walsh, the boss of British Airways’ parent company, said this was proof that investors are not being put off investing in Heathrow as it has suggested.
“Without question there is no shortage of investors who would be willing to take a stake in Heathrow,” he said.
“It is almost insulting that they announce the sale of a stake to a significant player like USS at the same time that they have been arguing that if they don’t get excessive reward at Heathrow, investors will leave.”
The latest spat comes amid arguments over how much Heathrow should be allowed to charge airlines and threats from BA to shift aircraft to competing airports.
A Heathrow spokesman told the newspaper: “There is no new capital investment for Heathrow as part of the USS transaction.
“One investor has sold, another has bought. Shareholders have not yet made anything approaching a market return on equity.”
Sourced from Travel Weekly
By Hollie-Rae Merrick,
Iberia is on “the path to recovery” and will return to making a profit next year following a “significant crisis”, the chief executive of International Airlines Group has said.
Speaking at the AOA conference in London, Willie Walsh said the troubled Spanish airline would make money following its restructure.
Earlier this year it was announced that losses at the airline came in at €351 as the poor performance by the Spanish carrier dragged IAG into the red last year.
Walsh said: “Iberia is loss-making at the moment but we will bring that back into profit.”
“Iberia … has been restructured and will make money,” he later added. “It is on the path to recovery – it was in a significant crisis.
“It will be profitable next year. Vueling is profitable and BA is profitable – the whole group will be profitable next year.”
Walsh also said Iberia was competing with Ryanair in the low-cost market in Spain but conceded that the Irish carrier is taking more capacity out of the Spanish market. “I’m not going to say that my fares are always as low as his [Michael O’Leary]”, he added.
Sourced by Travel Weekly
On 15 October Iberia will present its new corporate logo and brand image at its new Madrid offices where its is concentrating company departments now dispersed throughout the Spanish capital.
The launch of the new image will become effective in mid-November with the delivery of Iberia’s first Airbus A330 bearing the new logo, which is presently nearing completion at the Airbus factory in Toulouse.
The new brand image, which will keep the current symbols and colour scheme that identify the airline as the Spanish flag carrier, is part of a wider renovation and modernisation programme that is intended to make Iberia a modern, profitable, and sustainable company, attractive both to customers and staff.
New aircraft, totally redesigned cabins in all long-haul aircraft that will put both tourist and business class sections at the top of the market, plus a new website with expanded travel planning options ,are other aspects of the programme, along with a major boost in punctuality –Iberia now ranks 7th amongst major airlines– and numerous improvements to passengers’ airport experience at Iberia’s T4 hub at Madrid- Barajas airport.
Sourced by aviator.aero
BA, which this month began regular services with Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A380 superjumbos, is adding further aircraft to replace older models.
Investors were asked to back orders for 18 more Dreamliners and 18 A350s, plus 62 A320s for Vueling, including 32 re-engined A320neos.
The additional Dreamliner order includes at least 12 of the largest 787-10s on offer from Boeing since June. The rest will be 787-9s, the mid-sized variant.
Deliveries will start in 2017, with the A350-1000s following a year later and all 36 long-haul aircraft in the BA fleet by 2021.
Barcelona-based Vueling should see its fleet grow to 125 aircraft by the same date.
Sourced from Travel Weekly
Willie Walsh has accused Heathrow of ‘ripping off’ passengers and called its chief executive ‘pathetic’.
The chief executive of British Airways parent company IAG said the airport was planning on raising prices by £600 million over the next five years, a charge that would see each passenger pay an additional £7.
He added this was being done at the same time as the airport cuts spending on facilities.
Walsh said: “Passengers are paying more than they should and the benefits of that are going to higher-than-average rewards for the shareholders.
“If Colin Matthews is incapable of running the airport and making the investment that’s necessary, and requires an excessive return to justify that investment, then he should be replaced.
“If he was the CEO at a listed entity and came out with the statements he’s come out with, I suspect shareholders would take a completely different view because of the impact on the share price.”
He urged the CAA to act as it prepares to rule on fees that Heathrow can charge airlines and said it should not be ‘hoodwinked’ by the airport which has been ‘grossly over-rewarded’.
Walsh said the management was also ‘incapable of running their business efficiently within a routine cost-control environment’, adding: “What we see is an airport that has too many people; those people are paid too much.”
The CAA will set the fees the airport can charge from 2014 on October 3 and has currently proposed charges rise below inflation at RPI -1.3%, much lower than the 4.6% above inflation the airport wants to charge.
Sourced from TTG Digital