LONDON, Nov 5 ― British Airways parent company IAG said it was heading for a €3 billion (RM14.4 billion) loss for 2021, but added that the reopening of transatlantic travel would help its aim to return to profit next year.

IAG said today it planned to fly about 60 per cent of its pre-pandemic capacity in the current quarter. On Monday, the United States will fully reopen to UK and other foreign travellers, a boost as those routes are some of IAG's most lucrative.

But pandemic restrictions which lasted most of 2021 will push the group to an annual operating loss before exceptional items of about €3 billion, IAG warned, slightly behind a consensus forecast for a loss of €2.87 billion.

That puts IAG, which also owns the Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling airlines, behind European competitors Air France-KLM, which has guided to slightly positive earnings for 2021, and Germany's Lufthansa which eked out a small quarterly profit for its July to September period.

Over the summer, usually the most profitable period for airlines, IAG posted an operating loss before exceptional items of €485 million for the July to end September quarter, beating a consensus forecast for a loss of €513 million.

IAG has suffered from its greater exposure to Britain, where complicated and expensive Covid-19 testing rules deterred travel over the summer, while Air France and Lufthansa's main home markets recovered more quickly due to less restrictive rules. ― Reuters