British Airways-owner IAG says business travel recovering

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LONDON, May 6 (Reuters) – British Airways-owner IAG ICAG.L said on Friday it had seen a strong recovery in business travel in the first quarter and it expected to be profitable from the second quarter onwards and for the full year.

The company, which also owns Iberia and Aer Lingus, said the continued easing of government-imposed travel restrictions, particularly in Britain, resulted in improved travel demand, with no noticeable impact from the war in Ukraine.

“Demand is recovering strongly in line with our previous expectations,” Chief Executive Luis Gallego said, adding that the company was currently focused on improving operations, customer experience and its operational resilience.

British Airways was hit by separate technical issues in February and March and also had to cancel a small number of flights in April due to staff sickness and delays in ramping up crew levels.

IAG said it would ramp up capacity from 65% of 2019 levels in the first quarter to around 80% in the second, 85% in the third and 90% in the fourth, with North Atlantic routes close to full capacity by quarter three.

The company reported a first-quarter operating loss of 731 million euros, compared with a restated 1.07 billion euros for the same period a year ago.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by James Davey)

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