Aer Lingus’ Quarter 3 2022 performance reflects a welcome strength in leisure demand within the quarter following the ending of the highly restricted travel environment in Ireland which led to significant losses in 2020 and 2021. The company’s third-quarter results showed an operating profit of €139 million, encouraging progress after a loss of €95m in the first 6 months of the year. However, the Aer Lingus profit for the quarter was below the equivalent quarter in 2019.
We anticipated the return of demand for leisure travel once Covid restrictions were removed and planned an ambitious summer schedule that delivered a much-needed strong summer after a difficult two years. There was a strong resumption in outbound and inbound leisure travel this summer as we operated almost 90% of our 2019 levels of capacity. We are now entering the winter season – a period where non-leisure bookings made closer to the day of travel are more important.
The Q3 profitability is welcome as Aer Lingus begins the process of both repairing the balance sheet and repaying the significant debt that has been taken on. While there is much to build on, we are conscious that global and geopolitical forces causing higher oil prices, exchange rate fluctuation and rising interest rates continue to substantially increase the cost base of airlines.
We believe that the progress we’ve made in Q3 and our view of the remainder of the year will bring Aer Lingus to a position of small profitability for the full year, which would be considerably below the full-year profitability seen in 2019.