IAG considers acquiring LCC, not bothered about possible Virgin Atlantic sale
European airline shares traded generally lower, thanks to rising fuel prices due to the political instability in the Middle East and North Africa. Turkish Airlines was most heavily affected, slumping 7.1%. European LCC stocks also proved sensitive to the increase in oil prices: Norwegian, Vueling, easyJet, Ryanair and Dart Group - operator of Jet2 - were among the airlines that fell the most.
International Airlines Group (IAG) CEO Willie Walsh confirmed the new company would consider the acquisition of an LCC. The company is "clearly ambitious" about further European airline consolidation and an LCC could be used to feed short-haul traffic into the networks of British Airways and Iberia. Mr Walsh also stated the company is "not bothered" about a competitor acquiring a stake in Virgin Atlantic Airways. Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines have reportedly hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc to assist them in a possible joint bid.
Elsewhere, the European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA) reported the following traffic highlights in 2010:
- Passenger numbers: 172.4 million +6.1% year-on-year;
- Passenger load factor: 82.3%, +0.3 ppt
Selected EAD daily share price movements (% change): 22-Feb-2011