Aer Lingus had nearly €1bn cash at the end of last year

Year-end report shows Irish carrier had operating profits of more than €230m in 2016

Irish airline Aer Lingus had close to €1 billion cash at the end of last year, according to accounts just lodged with the Companies Registration Office (CRO).

Aer Lingus is part of International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) and its figures were included in that company’s year-end report, which was published in February. That showed the Irish carrier earned operating profits of more than €230 million in 2016.

Aer Lingus is still obliged to file returns with the CRO; these showed that the carrier had cash and cash equivalents of €966.23 million at the end of last year, which it held in various currencies.

The accounts note that it has to hold certain deposits to meet lease obligations. Aer Lingus leased 31 of the 51 craft that made up its fleet last year and owed a total of €296 million on various leases running for periods of one to five years.

The figures show that its balance sheet strengthened during 2016, with net assets growing to €1.9 billion on December 31st, 2016, from €1.8 billion the previous year.

Aircraft leasing

The accounts indicate that Aer Lingus got more than €14.5 million from selling its stake in aircraft leasing business Propius to another shareholder, UK group Stobart.

The UK company owns Stobart Air, which operates the Irish carrier's regional services. Propius supplied its aircraft.

At the end of last year, Aer Lingus classed its 33 per cent stake in the business as an asset held for sale, with a value of €14.6 million. The accounts state that it sold the holding for “an amount in excess of its carrying value” early this year. The sale went through in April.

Chief executive Stephen Kavanagh and chief financial officer Rachel Izzard say in their directors' report that the airline's transatlantic business drove its growth in 2016.

Aer Lingus is continuing to expand this operation and recently announced plans to fly to Seattle and Philadelphia from Dublin next year. It also intends boosting the frequency of other services.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas

READ MORE