Ash cloud costs Aer Lingus €10 million

Aer Lingus has taken a €10 million hit due to the Icelandic volcanic ash disruption which closure northern European airspace in April.

The figure emerged as the Irish carrier reported improved financial results for the first half of the year which saw losses reduced by almost 80% year on year to €19 million.

The €10 million exceptional charge incurred as a result of the ash crisis reflects the estimated cost of compensating affected passengers. This was offset by €5 million in savings from 2008 restructuring costs.

Aer Lingus saw passenger carryings decline by more than 10% in the half year to 4.4 million but the airline saw a double-digit improvement in average passenger yield in the second quarter of the year.

Christoph Mueller, the airline’s chief executive, said: “This operating result was achieved despite the adverse impact of volcanic as disruption as well as the continuation of difficult conditions in our key Irish market where unemployment is currently at 13.7% and where passenger numbers passing through Dublin airport have decline by 16% compared to the first six months of 2009.”

He maintained previous guidance that Aer Lingus would report an operating performance of “no worse than break even”.

“This would represent a good performance in difficult market conditions but is predicated on the delivery of committed staff productivity savings and no further significant disruptions to operations from industrial action or airspace closures, “ Mueller said.

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