British Airways owner IAG says rising fuel prices have stymied profit growth, with the group not expecting to post any growth in operating profit this year.
IAG on Friday (10 May) posted first quarter (Q1) operating profit of €135 million (£117 million), down 60% on Q1 2018 when it achieved €340 million (£293 million).
Fuel unit costs for the quarter, meanwhile, increased 15.8% year-on-year, while IAG’s operating profit suffered a €61 million (£53 million) hit from foreign exchange.
Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, said: “In a quarter when European airlines were significantly affected by fuel and foreign exchange headwinds, market capacity impacting yield and the timing of Easter, we remained profitable and are reporting an operating profit of €135 million.
“At constant currency, non-fuel unit costs were down 0.6% while passenger unit revenue decreased by 1.4%.”
Looking ahead, IAG said at current fuel prices and exchange rates, it expects to post 2019 operating profit before exceptional items in line with 2018.
“Passenger unit revenue is expected to be flat at constant currency and non-fuel unit cost is expected to improve at constant currency,” said the group. “We expect passenger unit revenue at constant currency to improve for the remainder of the year.”