Airlines buffeted by higher fuel costs and labor pressures are getting a lift from trans-Atlantic flights.
Strong economic growth in the U.S. and rebounding economies in Europe are helping fill planes. Airlines have been rapidly adding seats to satisfy this boom in demand.
British Airways parent International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, known as IAG, posted a second-quarter rise in profit Friday. Sales on its trans-Atlantic routes helped offset costs from higher fuel prices and air-traffic control disruptions that have hit Europe hard in 2018.
“The trans-Atlantic performance is very good,” IAG Chief Executive Willie Walsh said Friday. Demand was strong in all cabin classes and bookings remain solid this quarter, he added.
Delta Air Lines Inc. President Glen Hauenstein said in July, “this is a very, very strong environment for the trans-Atlantic [route].” Business-class bookings were robust, Delta said, as it reported 11% unit revenue increases for trans-Atlantic flights in the second quarter.
IAG rival Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Air France- KLM also said this week that earnings were bolstered by demand for travel across the Atlantic, helping their share prices recover some of the losses suffered in 2018.
IAG, whose Iberia, Aer Lingus and Level brands fly between Europe and America, said seats-for-sale gained 10% in the second quarter. About half of that capacity was on new routes. The financial performance of all the new routes was ahead of expectations, Mr. Walsh said.
BY ROBERT WALL