Another 185,000 British Airways customers caught in data attack

International Airlines Group, parent to BA and Aer Lingus, has published Q3 results

IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said the results were “strong” despite “significant fuel costs”.

IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said the results were “strong” despite “significant fuel costs”.

 

A further 185,000 British Airways customers have been notified that their personal data may have been stolen in a cyber attack at the airline last month.

International Airlines Group (IAG), which parents both British Airways and Aer Lingus, made the disclosure as part of its third quarter results, which it published on Friday.

Regarding the theft of British Airways’ customers’ data, the airline said it had been “working continuously” with specialist cyber forensic investigators and the National Crime Agency to investigate fully the data theft.

However, on Thursday, IAG provided an update to customers with further information as it concludes the internal investigation.

The investigation showed the hackers may have stolen additional personal data and British Airways has notified the holders of 77,000 payment cards, not previously notified, that the name, billing address, email address, card payment information, including card number, expiry date and CVV have potentially been compromised.

The group said a further 108,000 customers may have had their data stolen, except without the CVV number. The potentially impacted customers were only those making reward bookings between April 21st and July 28th, and who used a payment card.

“While British Airways does not have conclusive evidence that the data was removed from its systems, it is taking a prudent approach in notifying potentially affected customers, advising them to contact their bank or card provider as a precaution,” said IAG.

“In addition, from the investigation British Airways knows that fewer of the customers originally identified were impacted. Of the 380,000 payment card details identified, 244,000 were affected.

“Since the announcement on September 6, 2018 British Airways can confirm that it has had no verified cases of fraud.”

Separately, IAG said Aer Lingus’ growth of 28 per cent in terms of return on invested capital “reflects the full year impact of routes launched in 2017, and the impact of new routes to Philadelphia and Seattle”.

IAG said its profit after tax for the nine month period to September 30th was €2.5 billion, which was up 57 per cent on the €1.6 billion in the same period the year before.

The increase can largely be attributed to exceptional items including the closure of the New Airways Pension Scheme and British Airways Retirement Plan pension schemes.

This resulted in a one-off reduction of the defined benefit liability of €872 million and associated transitional arrangement cash costs of €192 million.

IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said the results were “strong” despite “significant fuel costs”.

“We’re reporting a good quarter three performance with an operating profit of €1.46 billion before exceptional items, up from €1.45 billion last year,” he said.

“These were strong results despite significant fuel cost [of 13.5 per cent] and foreign exchange headwinds. At constant currency, our passenger unit revenue increased by 2.4 per cent while non-fuel unit costs went down 0.7 per cent.

“We’re pleased to announce an interim dividend of 14.5 cents per share and this week we completed our second €500 million share buy-back programme.”

At current fuel prices and exchange rates, IAG expects its operating profit before exceptional items for 2018 to show an increase of around €200 million from a base of €3 billion in 2017.

Passenger revenue increased 5.3 per cent versus last year, excluding currency up 8.4 per cent. The group carried over 86 million passengers, which was up 7.7 per cent versus last year.

The group’s cash position was €6.9 billion which was down €600 million from the year before.