IAG October passenger traffic up 3.2 percent

LONDON Tue Nov 6, 2012 3:11pm GMT

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LONDON (Reuters) - International Airlines Group (ICAG.L) posted a strong rise in October traffic, as a robust performance from British Airways made up for weakness at Spain's Iberia.

Traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometres, rose by 3.2 percent versus October 2011, while passenger load factor - a measure of how well it fills its planes - was up 0.4 percentage points at 80.5 percent, it said on Tuesday.

IAG said its first and business-class travel - the most profitable part of its passenger business - rose 3.2 percent, while non-premium traffic was also up 3.2 percent.

British Airways' October traffic was up 6.2 percent compared to a 3.7 percent fall at Iberia.

IAG has seen worsening economic conditions in Spain hit its performance in recent months, undermining strength in long-haul travel out of London.

The group recently said its commercial performance at its Madrid hub has deteriorated further due to the ongoing effects of challenging macroeconomic conditions in Spain and across the wider euro zone, as well as the after-effects of prolonged industrial action.

IAG is due to announce a new restructuring plan, including a swathe of job cuts, for Iberia on Friday, having completed one for British Airways last year.

The Anglo-Spanish group expects underperforming Iberia to push it into a small operating loss for 2012.

Shares in IAG, which have risen 13 percent in the last three months, were up 1.7 percent at 173.5 pence by 1506 GMT, valuing the group at around 3.2 billion pounds.

(Reporting by Rhys Jones; editing by Sarah Young)

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