International Consolidated Airline Group (IAG), which owns the British Airways and Iberia airlines, saw solid year-on-year growth in both premium and non-premium traffic in March.
Group traffic measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres rose by 6.2% versus March 2011, while capacity measured in Available Seat Kilometres was up 1.1% on a year earlier.
Group premium traffic was 6.7% higher than March 2011 levels, while non-premium traffic was 6.2% higher.
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"Underlying market conditions at our London Heathrow hub continue to appear firm, in particular in the North Atlantic market," the company statement said.
However, the Spanish operations remain under a cloud, thanks to the ongoing threat of industrial action. The Iberia pilots union, SEPLA, has called on its members to withdraw their labour on every Monday and Friday, starting with the Easter holiday, until July 20th, as part of the protest against IAG forming a new low-cost airline, Iberia Express, which the pilots say contravenes agreements made when Iberia and British Airways merged to form IAG.
The further deterioration of Spanish macroeconomic prospects in the short term is also having an effect on Spanish passenger numbers.
Iberia's new subsidiary, Iberia Express, started operations on March 25th with flights between Madrid and Palma de Majorca, Alicante, Malaga, and Seville. A total of 17 destinations will be served during the summer season, IAG said.
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