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IAG: swings to first-quarter loss as passenger traffic drops

( - International Airlines Group (IAG) swung to a first-quarter loss, pointing out that the Covid-19 outbreak is having a "devastating" impact on the airline and travel sectors.

On Thursday the owner of the British Airways and Iberia airlines posted a first-quarter operating loss of 1.86 billion euros, against a profit of 135 million euros a year ago.

Passenger volume fell by 18.5% over the past quarter, with the company transporting 19,877 passengers, down from 24,382 in the first quarter of 2019.

Passenger capacity has been slashed by 94% from late March, IAG added, with most of its planes now grounded.

The airline expects that the second quarter will be "significantly worse" than the first, and does not expect passenger numbers to recover to 2019 levels before 2023.

IAG also said that its new CEO, Luis Gallego, will succeed Willie Walsh as group chief executive on 24 September.

The IAG share is currently down 1.7% on the London Stock Exchange.

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