Belfast Telegraph

Aer Lingus on high as profits fly up to €69m

Aer Lingus has announced an operating profit of €69.1m (£59.6m) for the year ended December 2012, up 40.7% from the previous year.

The company carried a record 10.8m passengers in the period when revenues of €1.4bn (£1.21bn) were recorded.

During 2012, the average yield per passenger increased by 7% to €120.15 (£103.70).

Based on the performance, the Aer Lingus board is proposing to pay an increased dividend of 4% share for 2012.

"2012 was an excellent year for Aer Lingus," said Aer Lingus Christoph Mueller.

"In addition to the strong financial performance, improved processes and service delivery were reflected in a record on-time arrival performance of 88% and a high customer satisfaction level."

According to the company, the balance sheet was strengthened with an increase in gross cash to €908.5m (£784.13m) during the year and a reduction in debt of 7.9% to €531.6m (£458.77m).

Meanwhile, Flybe has confirmed it has reached agreement to help out rival Ryanair if Michael O'Leary's plans to take over Aer Lingus come good.

Flybe said it had agreed to take control of some 43 Aer Lingus European routes and at least nine Airbus A320 aircraft under a new Flybe Ireland banner if the bid is finalised. It's the third time Ryanair has tried to bid for the Irish flag carrier and Mr O'Leary has had to make the concessions on routes in order to satisfy the competition concerns of European Commission regulators.

"The terms of the deal negotiated ensure Flybe Ireland will be a well-capitalised, well-funded company, enabling us to deliver upon that strategic aim," said Flybe chief executive Jim French.

"However, before Flybe Ireland can come into being there are many hurdles to overcome, not least the EC accepting the remedies offered by Ryanair in its offer to take over Aer Lingus, and then the shareholders of Aer Lingus accepting an offer from Ryanair."

Belfast Telegraph

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