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LONDON: IAG, parent group of British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia, said Friday it returned to profit in the first half as the aviation sector recovers from the Covid pandemic.

Profit after tax was 921 million euros ($1 billion) in the first six months after a net loss totalling 654 million euros one year earlier, IAG said in a statement.

“Our strong profits since the start of the year are helping to fund investment for our customers, and to improve our balance sheet by reducing debt,” said chief executive Luis Gallego. “We are aiming to be back to pre-pandemic capacity at the end of this year,” he added.

Group revenue surged 45 percent to 13.6 billion euros.

“Customer demand remains strong across the group, particularly for leisure travel, with around 80 percent of passenger revenue for the third quarter already booked,” Gallego added in the statement.

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