LONDON, Feb 24 (Reuters) - British Airways-owner IAG (ICAG.L) forecast 2023 profit could jump almost 90% after its financial performance improved substantially last year and it agreed a deal to buy all of Spain-based Air Europa.
For 2023, the airline group, which also owns Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus, forecast operating profit in the range of 1.8 billion euros ($1.91 billion) to 2.3 billion euros, compared to the 1.22 billion euros it made last year.
That result came in ahead of analyst expectations and represented an improvement of 4 billion euros from the previous year when COVID-19 travel restrictions made airlines across the world loss-making.
IAG agreed on Thursday to pay 400 million euros ($423.84 million) to Spain's Globalia for the remaining 80% of Air Europa it did not already own, a deal aimed at expanding its position in the Latin American market.
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Looking ahead, chief executive Luis Gallego said IAG was seeing robust forward bookings, although it remained conscious of the global macro-economic uncertainties.
"We are transforming our businesses, with the intention of returning IAG to pre-COVID levels of profit within the next few years, through major initiatives to improve customer experience and operational performance," he said.
($1 = 0.9439 euros)
Reporting by Joanna Plucinska; editing by Sarah Young
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