IAG reports record losses

British Airways owner, IAG, has reported a record loss in 2020.

The group posted a total annual operating loss of €7.4bn (£6.4bn) over the year. This is compared to a €2.6bn profit in 2019.

Luis Gallego, the chief executive of IAG, commented: “Our results reflect the serious impact that Covid-19 has had on our business.

“The group continues to reduce its cost base and increase the proportion of variable costs to better match market demand. We’re transforming our business to ensure we emerge in a stronger competitive position,” he added.

Passenger revenues over the year were down 75% to €5.5bn.

IAG is calling on the government to allow travel. Gallego said: “The aviation industry stands with governments in putting public health at the top of the agenda. Getting people travelling again will require a clear roadmap for unwinding current restrictions when the time is right.

“We know there is pent-up demand for travel and people want to fly. Vaccinations are progressing well and global infections are going in the right direction. We’re calling for international common testing standards and the introduction of digital health passes to reopen our skies safely.”

Jack Winchester, an analyst at Third Bridge, commented on the latest IAG results: “These results from IAG really do bring out just how painful the last year has been for the airline industry.

“Investors have been willing to plug IAG’s finances on the assumption of an eventual recovery but when the dust settles we are likely to see that low-cost carriers like Ryanair and Wizz Air have come out of 2020 in far better shape,” he added.

IAG shares are trading +4.08% at 193,85 (1320GMT).