UPDATE 1-Aer Lingus lifts profit forecast on recent strong trading
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LONDON, July 30 (Reuters) - Irish airline Aer Lingus lifted its 2014 profit guidance, reinstating an earlier forecast six weeks after it downgraded it, saying recent trading trends would help it meet the target after all.
Aer Lingus said on Wednesday it once again expected 2014 operating profit to be at least in line with the 61.1 million euros ($81.9 million) it made last year.
The company in June downgraded that profit forecast by 10 to 20 percent, warning that industrial action by cabin crew had damaged its bookings for the next few months.
"We've placed a number of trading and marketing initiatives into the business which have successfully restored consumer confidence across our transatlantic, our Ireland to UK and our capital cities market," chief revenue officer Mike Rutter told reporters on a call.
Shares in Aer Lingus, which before trading opened on Wednesday had fallen 13 percent over the last three months, were 4 percent higher at 1.384 euros at 0704 GMT.
In the second quarter, Aer Lingus said operating profit rose 33 percent to 38.7 million euros, despite a 10 million euro hit from the strikes in May and June.
The company said profits in the second quarter were boosted by a strong performance in its long haul division, where it carried 24.1 percent more passengers.
Aer Lingus's upwards revision of its annual profit guidance is in contrast to the story at some larger, European airlines.
Air France-KLM warned this month its 2014 profit could be as much as 12 percent lower than previously forecast, mainly due to overcapacity and weak prices, while Germany's Lufthansa last month lowered its profit targets for the next two years.