International Airlines Group, which also owns Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, released further details on its July-September period, having already reported a worse-than-expected situation. quarterly loss of 1.3 billion euros (1.17 billion pounds sterling) last week.
Luis Gallego, who took over as IAG’s chief executive in September, said the results “demonstrate the negative impact of COVID-19”, but he also blamed “the evolving government restrictions”.
Mr Gallego said restrictions such as quarantine for travelers arriving in the UK from certain countries “create uncertainty for customers and make it more difficult to effectively plan our business”.
He joined with others, like Heathrow Managing Director John Holland-Kaye, in calling on governments to introduce pre-departure and possibly post-flight testing to reduce the need for quarantine.
“It would open up roads, boost economies and make people travel with confidence,” he added.
“When we open up routes, the demand for travel is turned away.
“However, we continue to believe that it will take at least 2023 for passenger demand to return to 2019 levels.”
IAG said there was “no immediate sign of a resumption” of the pandemic, adding that it expects capacity in the fourth quarter to not exceed 30% of what it was at the same time last year.
The group said it had cut operating costs in cash by 54% and Mr Gallego said “significant progress” had been made on restructuring.
The workforce was reduced by 10,000 people, with most jobs being lost at BA.
Overnight, two other airline groups presented their financial results – Japan Airlines and Air France / KLM.
Japan Airlines said it expects a record operating loss of 380 billion yen (£ 2.81 billion) by the end of March, with demand expected to be below 50% by then , due to the pandemic.
The airline posted an operating loss of 92.9 billion yen in the second quarter, compared to a profit of 82.9 billion a year ago.
Air France / KLM reported a quarterly operating loss of 1.05 billion euros (£ 950 million) and a 67% drop in third-quarter revenue to 2.52 billion euros ( £ 2.3 billion).