- CAPA Analysis
- Schedule Analysis
- Cargo Analysis
- Route Maps
- Fast Fact Report
- Airline Status
- IATA Code
- ICAO Code
- Corporate Address
- Aer Lingus Head Office,
- Main hub
- Dublin Airport
- Business model
- Full Service Carrier
- Domestic | International
- Airline Group
- Part of International Airlines Group (IAG)
- Frequent Flyer Programme
- Association Membership
- Codeshare Partners
- Air Canada
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Headquartered in Dublin, Aer Lingus is the national airline of the Republic of Ireland and has been publicly owned since its flotation in Oct-2006. Aer Lingus became a wholly owned subsidiary of the International Airline Group (IAG), after securing a 98.05% stake under a EUR1.36 billion deal in 2015. A former member of oneworld, Aer Lingus is now a semi-low cost carrier that offers international and domestic services using Boeing 757 as well as A330 and A320 equipment. The carrier also utilises ATR aircraft on regional sectors across Ireland and the UK.
Location of Aer Lingus main hub (Dublin Airport)
International Airlines Group share price
117 total articles
IAG is arguably the most financially focused European airline group in terms of the way it motivates and monitors its own performance. It is no coincidence, then, that its financial performance is now consistently stronger than that of the Lufthansa Group and Air France-KLM (although none are as profitable as the leading LCCs, such as Ryanair). IAG's financial discipline is helping to rehabilitate the airline sector's reputation with professional investors.
In 2016 IAG achieved an operating margin and return on invested capital that were, once more, its best ever. This marked its strong recovery in the years since the global financial crisis (which hit it hard), and consolidated its leadership among Europe's big three legacy airline groups. Only Vueling among the group's constituent airlines suffered from falling returns. IAG shareholders are to be rewarded with a share buyback (IAG's first, and still rare among European airlines) and an increased dividend.
However, by its own standards of success, IAG has more to do. It is not yet meeting its own margin and return on capital targets –partly because it likes to increase them when they come within reach. Its challenge will be to maintain its momentum as the airline cycle's upswing starts to fade.
Aer Lingus' mission statement includes an aim to be the leading value carrier across the North Atlantic. Although this is not explicitly defined, it can validly claim to be among the top four in this category. Also vying with Aer Lingus for this title are Icelandair, airberlin and Norwegian.
Part 1 of this report on Aer Lingus looked at the development of its capacity and its financial performance, both before and after the acquisition by IAG in Aug-2015. This second part compares its North Atlantic network and its unit cost positioning with those of Icelandair, airberlin and Norwegian.
All four are currently pursuing rapid growth between Europe and North America and have similar weekly seat capacity scheduled in this market for summer 2017. Their trans Atlantic networks differ by their numbers of North American destinations, European hubs serving that region and European destinations connected to those hubs.
Aer Lingus is well placed among the four, but cannot currently claim to be the leading North Atlantic value carrier. Norwegian, with multiple European long haul bases, is developing quite differently from the other three. Moreover, although Aer Lingus is cost efficient, Norwegian has a significant CASK advantage.
2016 was Aer Lingus' first full year under IAG ownership, following its acquisition on 18-Aug-2015. This first part of CAPA's report on Aer Lingus considers its capacity growth and financial performance. Part 2 will compare its North Atlantic network and its unit cost in the light of its aim to be the leading value carrier across the North Atlantic.
IAG has largely reinforced the strategic path already adopted by Aer Lingus. Its North Atlantic led capacity expansion has accelerated, with trans Atlantic seat numbers growing by a half from summer 2014 to summer 2017. On short haul capacity has grown very little, but load factor improvement has driven traffic growth (important for long haul feed).
Aer Lingus suffered from a fall in unit revenue in 2016, but continued with a trend of improving profit margin that had begun in 2014, thanks to falling unit cost. Lower fuel prices played a role in CASK reduction in 2016, but so too did ex fuel unit cost, including labour productivity. Aer Lingus had the second lowest return on invested capital in IAG when it joined the group, but has risen to be its best performer on this measure. Cost will be key to its maintaining superior returns.
Ryanair's 117million pax in 2016 tops European airline groups. The first time an LCC topped rankings
For the first time ever in Europe, in 2016 a low cost airline carried more passengers than any other airline or airline group, as Ryanair's 117 million passengers pushed Lufthansa Group's 110 million into second place. Ryanair had beaten Lufthansa itself, but not the whole Lufthansa Group. IAG's first full year of including Aer Lingus helped it to take third place from Air France-KLM. Europe's number two LCC, easyJet, was ranked fifth.
The big five can be expanded into a big seven to include Turkish Airlines and the Aeroflot Group, although these two had contrasting growth rates in 2016. A chasing pack of middle sized airline groups includes three LCCs (Norwegian, Pegasus and Wizz Air) and three legacy airlines with varying challenges to establishing sustainable profitability (SAS, Air Berlin Group and Alitalia).
Most of the faster growing airline groups in the top 20 are LCCs and the main growth drivers for Europe's big three legacy groups are their LCC subsidiaries. Just outside the top 20 are some fast growing legacy airlines in Eastern Europe, demonstrating the potential there. Nevertheless, unless there is a big merger or acquisition, Ryanair looks set to remain at number one for some time.
IAG has detailed plans to start long haul low cost airline flights from Barcelona to the US, Latin America and Asia in Jun-2017. The project involves two Airbus A330s and will create up to 250 new jobs. Tickets for the first destinations are expected to be on sale by Feb-2017 or Mar-2017.
One of the key outstanding issues is which IAG airline brand will operate the flights. In an interview published on 22-Dec-2016 by La Vanguardia, the widely read and respected Barcelona newspaper, CEO Willie Walsh said that IAG may create a new brand for the project. British Airways, Iberia or even Aer Lingus – which has the lowest unit cost among IAG's long haul airlines – are also possibilities. However, Vueling "will continue in its strategy of European flights".
Among Europe's big three legacy airline groups, IAG is the only one not to have announced long haul low cost plans previously, although its LCC strategy has been the most successful in short/medium haul. Plans by the LCC Norwegian to launch long haul routes from Barcelona in 2017 may have had a catalytic effect on IAG's thinking. In the past IAG has been proactive in creating new platforms, while this move appears a little more reactive.
A vote on 14-Dec-2016 by British Airways 'mixed fleet' cabin crew raises the real threat of strike action - and, as is often the case, in the lead up to a peak holiday period. This would be the first serious industrial action since strikes by cabin crew protesting at the 2010 introduction of mixed fleet crew. BA, and its parent IAG, have been praised by many observers (including CAPA) for their resolve in driving through important restructuring programmes in legacy airlines, while their European peers have fallen behind the field. A crucial part of this has been to generate labour productivity improvements, often in the face of union resistance.
British Airways has a good track record in improving the efficiency of its workforce, as measured by ASKs per employee. In 2015 it made its highest-ever operating profit margin, beating Europe's other major legacy airlines, and it looks likely to improve on this once again in 2016. However, it does not have a great record of lowering unit labour cost.
Moreover, BA is currently experiencing falling unit revenue. With help from lower fuel prices receding, cutting ex fuel unit cost will be vital if BA is to fight off the margin squeeze resulting from unit revenue weakness. Labour is a key element of ex fuel cost, so the cabin crew dispute is a test of BA's resolve.