Economy

British Airways could relaunch up to 50% capacity in July

British Airways could relaunch up to 50% capacity in July”

IAG also said it expects to start resuming flights in July, albeit at 50% less passenger capacity - and dependent upon the lifting of travel restrictions.

IAG also said it expects to take delivery of only new 75 planes over the next three years, about one-half of the 143 it previously planned on buying.

Long-term prospects remain bleak, with the company echoing other airlines that passenger demand is not expected to catch up to 2019 levels before 2023 "at the earliest".

Between March 22 and April 26, IAG Cargo said it operated 350 additional cargo-only return flights, primarily on long-haul routes with passenger widebody aircraft.

Capital spending plans were cut by €1.2bn, and weekly costs more than halved to €200m.

The group confirmed it has been among firms who accessed the United Kingdom coronavirus corporate finance facility, a government-backed scheme to help large companies borrow money cheaply. "This means group-wide restructuring is essential in order to get through the crisis and preserve an adequate level of liquidity", Walsh said.

IAG on Thursday also confirmed it endured a hard fourth quarter, swinging to an operating loss of EUR1.86 billion in the three months to March 31, from a EUR135 million profit a the year prior.

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The airline has come under fire after it emerged that some staff had been left suicidal with the announcements and lack of empathy from the carrier over the job cuts.

IAG, however, said that while it was using general facilities such as state-backed loans and furlough schemes, it had no need to ask for a specific government rescue.

The crisis has forced some airlines, such as competitors Air France-KLM and Lufthansa to seek government bailouts. "I've been very clear that state aid which is made on a general basis, if it's applicable to us and we can avail of it then we will do so", Walsh told reporters on a call.

Chief executive officer Willie Walsh said that the performance of the group for January and February was in line with the previous year, however, "March's performance was severely affected by government travel restrictions due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 which significantly impacted demand".

"We still have to go through the full competition regulatory approval process. So at this point, the process continues", the IAG CEO said.

Total revenue fell 13.4% to €3.95bn as the pandemic crippled air travel globally.



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