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Aer Lingus lands €24m repeat loss

IRISH airline Aer Lingus is on track to match last year's results, reporting a pre-tax loss of €24.5m for the first six months of 2012.

The airline said that the difficult market is typically loss making in the first half of the year.

And the former Irish flag-carrier said yields per passenger were up 5.3pc compared to the same period last year, with revenues up by 7pc.

Revenues for the six month period rose by 10pc to €626.3m from €569.1m.

Operating losses at the airline fell to €4.4m from €26.8m.

A number of exceptional items are factored in, including €4.3m in costs incurred as a result of the takeover offer by Ryanair which also includes fees for advisors.

The group, in which the Irish government holds a 25pc stake, reiterated its call for shareholders to reject Ryanair's offer, which it says the Commission will likely block.

Chief executive Christoph Mueller said that the airline's operating costs in the first half of the year increased by 5.8pc, mainly due to a 29.6pc increase in fuel costs and an 8.1pc increase in airport charges.

"Aer Lingus has produced a good trading performance in the seasonally weak first half of 2012,'' he said.

"The group's operating profit loss of €4.4m represents a significant improvement over the prior year.

"These results clearly demonstrate that our strategy of building a leaner and more efficient Aer Lingus is working."