LONDON, July 30 — IAG, the owner of British Airways and Iberia, said Friday that it narrowed its net loss in the first half, but continued to face economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The London-listed conglomerate said in a statement that it suffered a loss after taxation of €2.0 billion (RM10.05 billion) in the six months to the end of June. 

That was almost half the group’s net loss of €3.8 billion in the same period a year earlier, when the pandemic erupted and ravaged air travel.

Revenues remain severely depressed by the pandemic, down 60 per cent at €2.2 billion.

The airline giant said it “continues to be adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic together with government restrictions and quarantine requirements”. 

Passenger capacity in the second quarter was only 22 per cent of its pre-pandemic 2019 level.

IAG said, however, that it remained ready to ramp up services once international travel curbs are fully lifted.

“In the short term, our focus is on ensuring our operational readiness, so we have the flexibility to capitalise on an environment where there’s evidence of widespread pent-up demand when travel restrictions are lifted,” said chief executive Luis Gallego.

“We know that recovery will be uneven, but we’re ready to take advantage of a surge in air travel demand in line with increasing vaccination rates.”

And he welcomed the announcement that fully-vaccinated people in the United States and European Union, except France, will be allowed to travel to England without having to quarantine on arrival.

“We see this as an important first step in fully re-opening the transatlantic travel corridor,” Gallego said.

IAG was slammed by the Covid-19 pandemic, which grounded planes worldwide and decimated demand for air travel.

The company booked a huge net loss of €6.9 billion in 2020. 

IAG has slashed costs as it sought to navigate the emergency health crisis, shedding 10,000 jobs at British Airways. — AFP