BA planes.
EPA

British Airways owner IAG has said it will take until at least 2023 for passenger levels to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

IAG, which also owns Aer Lingus, posted a loss of €4.2bn (£3.8bn) in the first half of the year as demand for air travel collapsed amid the pandemic.

Passenger numbers were down 98%, and the group plans to cut 12,000 jobs.

IAG said it planned to raise €2.75bn, and had support for this from its main shareholder, Qatar Airways.

Chief executive Willie Walsh said: “The industry will recover from this crisis, though we do not expect this to be before 2023, and there will be opportunities for IAG to capitalise on its strength and leadership positions.”

He added that business had begun to pick up as guidance on travel abroad was loosened: “We have seen evidence that demand recovers when government restrictions are lifted.

“Our airlines have put in place measures to provide additional reassurance to their customers and employees on board and at the airport.”

Some IAG airline passengers are still chasing refunds for cancelled flights.

Mr Walsh apologised to those who are still waiting for payments. He told the BBC’s Today programme that most people should not have to wait more than 14 days for their money.

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