StockMarketWire.com - British Airways-owner International Consolidated Airlines said first-quarter profit more than halved as passenger unit revenue slid amid a rise in fuel prices, Air Traffic Control disruption and foreign exchange headwinds. The company also forecast flat passenger unit revenue for the year, that was downgraded from guidance in February for an improvement in passenger unit revenue.

For the three months to March 31, 2019, first-quarter operating profit, before exceptional items, fell to €135m from €340m with passenger unit revenue down 0.8%, and down 1.4% at constant currency.

Total passenger revenue increased by 5.2% to €14.64bn. The quarterly results were hurt by a rise by a15.8% rise in fuel unit costs for the quarter, while the company also suffered a €61m hit from adverse foreign exchanged movements.

The company reported cash of €7,48m at March 31, 2019, up from €1,207 million on December last year.

'In a quarter when European airlines were significantly affected by fuel and foreign exchange headwinds, market capacity impacting yield and the timing of Easter, we remained profitable and are reporting an operating profit of €135 million,' said Willie Walsh, IAG Chief Executive Officer.

'At constant currency, non-fuel unit costs were down 0.6 per cent while passenger unit revenue decreased by 1.4 per cent.' Story provided by StockMarketWire.com