International Airlines Group’s freight revenue in 2011 grew 8.6 percent from a year ago to $1.6 billion, as the Anglo-Spanish carrier increased traffic in a declining global air cargo market.
Traffic rose 4.2 percent compared with an industry-wide decline of 0.7 percent, and yields were also up 4.2 percent on 2010.
IAG, formed by an $8 billion merger of British Airways and Iberia in 2010, boosted cargo revenue by 3.3 percent in the final three months of 2011 to $475 million following a flat third quarter. Traffic growth slowed, however, to 1.1 percent and yield was 2.2 percent higher than in the same period in 2010.
IAG didn’t say whether it made a profit on cargo and didn’t provide a breakdown between BA and Iberia, which merged their freight operations last April. The carrier said its cargo unit has introduced joint trucking deals, joint customer incentives and single commercial teams.
IAG, Europe’s fourth largest carrier by market value, doubled 2011 operating profit to $655 million on a 10.4 increase in revenue to $22 billion.
“BA is making money and Iberia is losing money. The Spanish economy is weak and operating costs at Iberia are too high, unacceptably so, this is being tackled,” said IAG Chief Executive Willie Walsh.
BA, buoyed by strong transatlantic premium traffic, booked a profit of $799 million while Iberia lost $82 million. IAG said higher fuel costs, weaker European markets and labor unrest will depress operating profit in the first half of 2012.
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