Aer Lingus delivers strong Q3 performance driven by increased capacity on short haul and long haul routes
Aer Lingus recorded an operating profit before exceptional items of €196 million for Q3 2023, reflecting very strong demand for travel through the summer, peaking in the third quarter. The operating profit in the quarter exceeds that achieved in the equivalent quarters in both 2019 and 2022 and the performance allows Aer Lingus to continue to focus on repairing the airline’s balance sheet which is key to funding future investment.
The positive financial performance in the quarter reflected strong demand for leisure travel on both short haul and long haul routes.
Aer Lingus increased its capacity on short haul routes by 14% compared to Q3 2022. That increased short haul capacity performed very well in Q3 with Mediterranean sun destinations and destinations such as Northern Spain, Greek Islands and Croatia all in high demand. Aer Lingus European city routes also performed well, with strong demand including transatlantic customers seeking connectivity between North America and Europe.
Aer Lingus increased its capacity on long haul routes by 15% compared to Q3 2022. Transatlantic routes and frequency were expanded to meet increased North American passenger demand for both Irish and European destinations, underpinning the airline’s Dublin hub strategy. The peak summer performance culminated in the arrival of over 40,000 US visitors in August for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic game between Notre Dame and Navy. In Q3, Aer Lingus also announced a further expansion to the North American network for Summer 2024, with new direct services next year to Denver, Colorado and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Following a challenging Q1 2023 and higher operating costs, the cumulative operating profit achieved since the start of 2023 is below that achieved to the same point in 2019. The airline is also experiencing increased seasonality in the business and continuing high fuel prices. While leisure travel delivered strongly in Q3, business travel has not yet fully recovered.