2019 half year results: A solid performance in a challenging market

Today’s Aer Lingus results represent a solid performance in a challenging market, as we strive to achieve our ambition of becoming the leading value carrier across the North Atlantic.

Cost efficiency and productivity improvement are imperative to our overall strategy, allowing us to offer our guests value for money. This ‘value carrier’ focus has delivered significant growth in our business and boosted employment in Aer Lingus. We continue to focus on delivering further cost efficiencies for the business in order to improve our competitiveness. The challenges being experienced throughout the European Short Haul market underline the need for Aer Lingus to focus on improved competitiveness.

Sean Doyle H1 Results Infographic

We continue to make significant investments to meet our ambitious growth strategy, including in our inflight product offering, airport services and training. The A321neo LR joins our fleet today offering guests a consistent and modern product offering, including Wi-Fi connectivity on our short haul fleet for the first time, reduced noise levels to help guests relax on flights and great inflight entertainment. Further inflight enhancements include the announcement of AerSpace, our new premium travel experience for short haul guests. This innovative new fare type will see AerSpace guests flying to select destinations across the UK and Europe guaranteed an aisle or window seat on the first row of the aircraft with the middle seat left unoccupied for a roomier and more efficient travel experience. In recognition of our consistent quality and excellent guest experience, Skytrax World Airline Awards rated Aer Lingus 4-stars in June, retaining our position as Ireland’s only 4-star airline. We were also recently named Ireland’s 5th most reputable company in the 2019 Ireland Reptrak survey.

2019 Aer Lingus H1 Results Infographic

Our digital platforms have also seen significant improvements across our website and mobile app including the introduction of Apple Pay and Pay with Avios, offering guests new seamless payment options. This has led to a more customised and intuitive digital experience for guests. At the start of the year, we also unveiled a refreshed brand with updated logo and new aircraft livery. As part of this brand refresh, we will unveil new uniforms this winter.

We launched our new route from Dublin to Minneapolis-St Paul in Minnesota last month. Since joining IAG in 2015, Aer Lingus has launched seven new direct transatlantic services. With a record 2.59 million seats between Ireland and North America on sale in 2019, we have almost doubled our North American transatlantic capacity from Dublin over the past five years. Our transatlantic fleet will have grown from 10 aircraft in 2015 to 19 aircraft in early 2020.

2019 H1 Results 4 star

Further investment in developing Dublin Airport into a transatlantic hub will also be critical in achieving our growth plans. According to EY DKM research, investment in hub infrastructure at Dublin Airport could add €18.6bn to Ireland’s GDP over the next 15 years, as well as generating an additional 33,950 jobs for the Irish economy. This infrastructure is critical to the Government’s National Aviation Policy to develop Dublin as a “Hub Airport.” It is critical for the Irish economy that the infrastructure proposed in the capital programme is built in a timely and efficient manner.

Looking forward, underpinned by cost effectiveness, we will continue to add capacity between North America and Europe. We currently hold less than 4% of the market between North America and Europe, so there is significant room for growth in the coming years. We will continue to focus on our value carrier strategy, based on the pillars of cost, product and service.

Sean Doyle is CEO of Aer Lingus