Aer Lingus plans long-haul growth as profits rise

Aer Lingus plans long-haul growth as profits riseAer Lingus expects this year’s operating profit to top the 2013 level of €61.1 million as it plans more long-haul growth.

The forecast came as the Irish carrier reported a 19% rise in third-quarter operating profits to €112.9 million.

Revenue in the three months to September 30 was up by 13.9% year on year to €531 million driven by strong short-haul performance and continued long-haul capacity expansion.

Chief executive Christoph Mueller said: “Aer Lingus’s short-haul traded strongly in a tough environment, with revenue growth increasing by 5.5% in the quarter.

“This is a reflection of the inherent strength of our business model and the success of management actions taken to address the effects of industrial disruption in the second quarter.

“In long-haul, we carried nearly a quarter more passengers compared to last year while increasing our load factor and revenue per seat. We target further profitable growth of our long-haul business into 2015.

“Our new Dublin to Washington service will be launched in May 2015 and services on existing transatlantic routes will be increased.

“This will provide even more connectivity for our passengers and strengthen Aer Lingus’s and Dublin’s position in traffic between Europe and North America.”

He added: “Assuming the current trading environment is maintained, management now expect that Aer Lingus’s full-year 2014 operating profit, before exceptional items, will be ahead of the 2013 operating result – €61.1 million.”

An additional leased Airbus A330 will be added to the fleet from next May to operate the new Washington route four times a week.

Frequency on the Dublin-San Francisco route will rise from five flights a week to a daily service while the Dublin-Orlando route will rise from three to four flights a week.

A Boeing 767 will also be deployed during the 12-week summer 2015 peak to raise capacity on the Shannon-Boston route while a third daily frequency on Dublin-New York will be operated by a 757.

Aer Lingus is reassessing the deployment of aircraft supplied to run Virgin Little Red UK domestic services which are being phased out next year.

Aer Lingus passenger carryings edged up by 2.3% last month to 979.000.

Long-haul provided the greatest growth with numbers up by 29% to 129,000 over October 2013. But mainstream short-haul numbers dropped by 2.1% to 738,000.

Aer Lingus regional operations achieved growth of 8.7% to 112,000 passengers. Overall carryings for the year to October were up by 4.2% to  ore than 9.6 million.

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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