Irish airline Aer Lingus swings to profit in Q2


DUBLIN – Irish airline Aer Lingus swung to profit in the second quarter after cost cuts more than offset the revenue hit from a volcanic ash cloud, and vowed to defend its independence by cutting costs further into next year.

Aer Lingus has cut unprofitable U.S. routes, reduced staff and fuel costs to survive in Ryanair’s shadow but also acknowledged it would be fruitless to insist on undercutting the prices of its much bigger and leaner former suitor.

After reporting full-year losses for both 2008 and 2009, it reiterated a projection on Tuesday to at least break even on an operating level before exceptional items in 2010, barring major action by its employees against the cost cuts.

“This operating performance, together with the very strong balance sheet, shows a company undergoing a fast recovery from the depths of 2009,” Bloxham Stockbrokers said in a note.

Aer Lingus, which is more reliant than Ryanair on the Irish market, one of Europe’s financial trouble spots, said it was too early to give a forecast for 2011 in such an uncertain economic climate.