IAG foresees a difficult summer at airports due to the great pull experienced by the demand for flights in recent weeks. The CEO of the holding company, Luis Gallego, explained this Thursday during his speech at the group’s shareholders’ meeting that there will be a “complicated” summer at “many airports” caused by the need to operate at 100% after having “all the machinery stopped” for months.

Gallego stressed that reserves “remain strong” and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has not had “a significant impact” on the air sector. As this newspaper has published, the numbers of international passengers within Europe have already exceeded pre-crisis levels, which is generating collapses and crowds at airports such as London and Amsterdam.

In this sense, the manager has praised the decision of Spain to activate the ERTE, which has facilitated the reactivation of the group when the demand has returned.

“The rapid demand is causing tensions in the process of adaptability,” Gallego acknowledged. The group of airlines, which includes British Airways, Iberia, Vueling, Level and Aer Lingus, expects to gradually recover pre-crisis capacity levels. Operating capacity was 19% in the first quarter compared to 2019 and, on average, ended at 36.1%, but the group wants to operate at 80% this year.

The shareholders’ meeting approved last year’s accounts, where it obtained losses after taxes of 2,933 million euros, which represented a reduction of 57.7% compared to the red numbers of 6,935 million registered in 2020.

The manager assured in this sense that the expectations for 2022 are “positive”, since the reserves for the summer have continued to be “strong” despite the impact of the omicron variant of the covid-19 virus in the first months of the year. Gallego explained that the ‘premium’ vacation segment is having a “very positive evolution” and business trips have registered “the highest level” since the start of the pandemic. In this context, IAG is confident of returning to profitability from the second quarter and closing the year on a positive note.

Regarding the operation with Air Europa, the CEO of IAG has assured that this same Wednesday the loan of 100 million convertible into 20% of the Globalia airline granted by the airline holding company was closed. Iberia’s plans go through converting that credit into a 20% stake within six months.

During the meeting, the shareholders approved the re-election of the 11 members of the board, including that of the CEO, Luis Gallego, as well as the modification of the directors’ remuneration policy, authorizing them to acquire the company’s own shares, to the issuance of shares and convertible or exchangeable securities and for the exclusion of the preferential subscription right.