Strong 2022 Recovery Returns IAG to Profit

An aircraft taxis at Heathrow Airport at sunset.
Photo Credit: Heathrow Airports Limited

On Friday 24 February, IAG announced it had returned to profit in 2022 with a “strong recovery” from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This article will delve into IAG’s full-year (FY) 2022 financial results.

Group Results

By Andrzej Otrębski - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
Photo Credit: Andrzej Otrębski – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

International Airlines Group, IAG, released its full-year 2022 results showing an improved financial performance from the previous years with an operating profit, before exceptional items, of 1.22 billion EUR. In 2021, the Group made a loss of 2.97 billion EUR. A change of fortune of over 4 billion EUR.

Similarly, in the three months to 31 December 2022, the Group made an operating profit of 486 million EUR, with the same period in 2021 being a loss of 305 million EUR – a positive swing of 791 million EUR.

The Group also reported it had returned to 87% of its 2019 capacity in available seat kilometers (ASK – a key measure of an airline’s capacity to generate revenue) in a show of strength for the group in rising to meet increased and strong demand.

Luis Gallego, IAG Chief Executive Officer, said: “2022 was a year of strong recovery, driven by sustained leisure demand and markets reopening.”

IAG’s future outlook was positive with an expectation of returning to “pre-COVID levels of profit within the next few years,” Gallego also said.

IAG is the holding group of various European airlines, including the flag-carrier airlines of British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus. This also includes low-cost operators Vueling and Level.

Airline2022 (million Euros)2021 (million Euros)2019 (million Euros)
British Airways303– 1,9001,890
Iberia382– 234497
Aer Lingus45347276
Source: IAG Financial Results 2022

Individual results for each airline are shown with the largest improvement being British Airways. However, Iberia and Vueling saw profits increase to the extent of closing in on 2019 levels. Organizational structure may be the contributing factor to IAG’s success and Gallego said “Our unique group structure allows us to maximize revenue and cost synergies.”

IAG’s Further Growth

IAG has recently achieved agreement on completing the purchase of Spanish-based Air Europa, completing IAG’s ownership of the three largest airlines in Spain. The purchase cost 400 million EUR and is subject to regulatory approvals which could take up to 18 months.

The intention to purchase Air Europa is based on continued confidence in the leisure market through 2023. The Group cited continued strong demand and positive outlooks on forward bookings in early 2023.

The group plans to create a Madrid gateway, connecting with Iberia and Vueling, for routes to “Latin America and beyond, with benefits for customers, employees, and shareholders.” The addition of Air Europa’s fleet of circa 40 aircraft will continue to firm IAG’s position as one of the largest global airline groups.

Gallego completed the press release by thanking the IAG team “for their exceptionally hard work in addressing the challenges of ramping up the operation throughout the year.”


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