herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Airlines: Walsh wins rise in Iberia merger

IRISH CEO of British Airways, Willie Walsh drove his company to pre-tax profits of £158m (€181m) for the first six months of the year.

The chief is now expected to receive a pay hike as the airline prepares to merge with Spanish airline Iberia.

Mr Walsh will become chief executive of the combined company -- International Consolidated Airlines Group -- and will see his basic pay rise 12pc to £825,000 (€946,758) a year.

He will also be eligible for performance-related bonuses under the merger deal that will be capped at twice his basic pay, or £1.65m (€1.89m).

Mr Walsh's colleague, BA chief financial officer Keith Williams, will see his basic pay rise 43pc to £630,000 (€722,979) after his promotion to replace Mr Walsh as BA chief executive within the enlarged company.

The airline said it made a trading profit of £370m (€424m) in the second quarter of its financial year, compared with a loss of £17m (€19m) a year earlier.

BA said that the economic environment was positive, but was still subject to uncertainty, but it described a forthcoming increase in the UK's air passenger duty as 'unhelpful'.

Net profit for the airline, which is merging with British Airways, reached €53m, while revenues grew 7pc to €3.57bn.

This more than offset a loss in the previous quarter, which saw 15 days of strikes as well as the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland in April.

Operating losses narrowed to €1m from a record loss a year ago in the nine months, but it swung to an operating profit of €71m in the third quarter.

Analysts had been expecting a profit figure for BA of about £75m (€86m) -- half of what the airline actually made.

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