British Airways’ parent IAG has called for international Covid-19 testing standards and digital health passes to restart flights, as the company slumped to a record €7.4 billion operating loss in 2020.
The annual results for IAG, which also owns Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, showed the impact of the pandemic on the airline group during 2020 with revenue slumping by 69% to €7.8 billion as passenger capacity was cut back to just 33.5% of 2019’s levels.
Lockdowns and government restrictions across the UK and Europe mean that IAG’s planned capacity during the first three months of 2021 is currently down to just 20% of last year’s figures and even this level of capacity is “uncertain and subject to review”.
Luis Gallego, IAG’s chief executive, said: “Our results reflect the serious impact that Covid-19 has had on our business. We have taken effective action to preserve cash, boost liquidity and reduce our cost base. Despite this crisis, our liquidity remains strong.”
Gallego added that the resumption of passenger traffic required a “clear roadmap for unwinding current restrictions when the time is right”.
“We know there is pent-up demand for travel and people want to fly,” he said. “Vaccinations are progressing well and global infections are going in the right direction.
“We’re calling for international common testing standards and the introduction of digital health passes to reopen our skies safely.”
IAG said it was not making any forecasts for its financial fortunes during 2021 "given the uncertainty on the impact and duration of Covid-19".