IAG shares fly in early trading

Once again, CEO Willie Walsh’s hard-line tactics in dealing with trade unions have paid dividends, as the airline conglomerate posts impressive figures.

Fresh on the heels of disappointing figures from both Ryanair and easyJet, International Consolidated Air (IAG) has pleased the markets with a turnaround in costs, passengers numbers and profitability.

After a number of years spent fighting trade unions and uncompetitive work practices in Spain, Willie Walsh has managed to put the company back on track, as he did with British Airways. For the third quarter, Iberia posted a profit of €74 million – a sizable improvement on the €1million it reported a year earlier. Now that the Spanish arm contributes to the group’s profitability rather than being a weight around its neck, operating profit has jumped to €690 million, up from €270 million in the previous year.

An hour into trading, the stock had risen by over 5% and looks set to challenge the year highs set earlier in October. It is worth considering that the share is already up 97% on the year, but with three quarters of the institutional analysts still rating it as a ‘buy’ or ‘strong buy’, it might have scope to take advantage of more blue sky yet.

International Consolidated Airlines Group chart

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