Aer Lingus today announced strong preliminary results for the year ended 31st December 2012. The airline achieved an operating profit of €69.1 million, up 40.7% from €49.1million in 2011. The operating margin was also strong, up to 5.0% for 2012 compared to 3.8% in the previous year.
2012 was a record year for Aer Lingus in terms of passenger numbers, with a total of 10.8 million passengers flown, including Aer Lingus Regional and the Madrid – Washington codeshare route. This is the highest number of passengers ever flown in a single year by the airline and represents an increase of 3.8% on 2011.
During 2012 the average yield per passenger increased by 7% to €120.15. Long-haul yields remained particularly strong, increasing by 9.6% while short-haul yields were up 3.8%.
There was also good news in terms of revenue for the year, which at €1,393.3 million represented an increase of 8.2%, while the balance sheet was strengthened with an increase in gross cash to €908.5 million and a reduction in debt of 7.9% to €531.6 million.
In another positive indicator the number of forward passengers booked on Aer Lingus services at 31st December was ahead of the figure booked at the same time in 2011. In January 2013 the single highest day of revenue booked in the history of Aer Lingus was recorded.
Based on the positive performance the Aer Lingus board is proposing to pay an increased dividend of 4 cent per share for 2012.
Christoph Mueller, Chief Executive, said: “2012 was an excellent year for Aer Lingus. In addition to the strong financial performance, improved processes and service delivery were reflected in a record on-time arrival performance of 88% and a high customer satisfaction level.
“We believe in our new business model. Our positioning at the centre of the market is allowing us take market share from the legacy carriers as well as the pure low cost and regional carriers.
“I firmly believe that this result, representing our third consecutive year of profitability, validates our value carrier model and shows that our strategy is delivering a leaner, more efficient and profitable airline, to the benefit of customers, shareholders and staff.”
He said that 2013 would be a year of growth for Aer Lingus. “We will grow our North Atlantic services by 15% this year and deploy four short-haul aircraft in a co-operation with Virgin Atlantic out of London Heathrow.
“We will also fly one Airbus A330 aircraft during the next three winter seasons on behalf of a major European tour operator, which will improve aircraft utilisation in the low season.
“We will also continue to invest in state-of-the-art IT infrastructure enabling Aer Lingus to deliver superior customer service and convenience and driving down overall costs at the same time.”