(Adds exec comment, background)
LONDON, July 30 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.
($1 = 0.7459 Euros)
(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Kate Holton and Mark