British Airways owner back in profit as revenues soar

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The turnaround marks an important milestone for IAG ­in its recovery from the ­pandemic, which saw a collapse ­in air travel amid heavy restrictions. However, the boss of IAG warned the industry still faced “historic challenges”, especially in the UK. Chief executive Luis Gallego singled out Heathrow, where he said problems had been “acute”.

Shortages of baggage handlers at ­various airports through to issues with air traffic control have led to travel chaos in recent months, worsened by a rapid rise in passenger numbers.

Mr Gallego added: “We will continue working with the industry to address these issues as aviation emerges from its biggest crisis ever.”

BA has been forced to cancel thousands of flights this summer due to the ongoing problems. As most involved ­passengers being told some time in advance, BA’s compensation bill stands at a relatively low £15million.

Sean Doyle, CEO of BA, revealed it may be close to finalising talks with two unions over pay.

“We are concluding negotiations with Unite and the GMB,” he said.

Mr Doyle added: “We are beginning discussions with pilots.”

Strike action by BA workers over a range of issues, including pay, threatened to cause havoc for the airline and its passengers over the busy ­summer period.

IAG, which also owns Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus, said capacity – the ­number of passengers it could fly – was up to 79 percent of pre-pandemic levels in the three months to the end of June.

Matt Britzman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “We could be staring at a turning point for IAG.

“There’s no doubt turbulence ahead, but a resilient consumer and cash flow that’s turned positive are hallmarks of a business that can push on.”

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