The first strikes by British Airways pilots in more than 40 years have significantly dented owner IAG’s third-quarter profits, the group has revealed.
IAG posted a Q3 operating profit of €1,425 million on Thursday morning (31 October), down €155 million (9%) on the same three-month period (to 30 September) last year.
BA pilots, represented by the Balpa union, staged a two-day walkout over 9-10 September, and called a third strike for 27 September – which was later cancelled.
Last month, IAG said the action, arising from a dispute over pay and conditions, would cost the group in the region of €137 million, adding its full-year operating profit would likely come in about €215 million lower than previously forecast.
“The quarter was heavily impacted by industrial action by Balpa pilots, which together with other disruption resulted in an adverse operating profit impact of €155 million,” said IAG in a trading update on Thursday.
Fuel costs also hit IAG’s balance sheet, with fuel unit costs for the quarter up 6.1% (4.2% at constant currency).
IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said: “In quarter three, we’re reporting an operating profit of €1,425 million before exceptional items, down from €1,530 million last year – these are good underlying results.
“As we said in September, our performance has been affected by industrial action by pilots union Balpa and other disruption including threatened strikes by Heathrow airport employees. In addition, our fuel bill increased by €136 million during the quarter with fuel unit costs up 4.2% at constant currency.
“At constant currency, passenger unit revenue decreased by 1.1% while non-fuel unit costs were up 1.1%.”
Looking ahead, IAG said it expected its 2019 operating profit – before exceptional items – to come in €215 million lower than 2018.
“Passenger unit revenue is expected to be slightly down at constant currency and non-fuel unit costs are expected to improve at constant currency,” said the group.