Belfast Telegraph

Aer Lingus profits fall by 2.9%

By John Mulligan

Aer Lingus remains focused on achieving additional cost savings after it reported a 2.9% dip to €90.9m (£75m) in operating profits for the third quarter of the year.

In the nine months to the end of September, Aer Lingus said operating profit was 29.7% ahead at €86.5m (£69.1m) compared to the corresponding period last year.

Chief executive Christoph Mueller described the results as "strong" given the tough economic backdrop and intensified competition. The summer Olympics also hit demand on its London routes in the period.

"I am proud that our team has achieved this result against the backdrop of the third Ryanair offer for the group," said Mr Mueller.

Ryanair, which already owns close to 30% of Aer Lingus, has bid €694m (£554m) for its smaller rival.

Aer Lingus has also exceeded its previous target of €100m (£80m) annual cost savings.

The airline is bracing for industrial action in less than two weeks' time as a result of staff unrest over pension schemes.

The airline said that forward bookings in the third quarter are stronger than in the third quarter last year.

It's adding an additional aircraft to its north American routes next year that will provide additional capacity from both Chicago and Boston.