IAG confirms post Olympics traffic pick-up

LONDON (AP) — International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, saw profits soar in the first nine months of the year on the back of an ongoing cost-cutting drive and a pick-up in passenger numbers relative to last year, when the 2012 London Olympics dented traffic.

Operating profit before exceptional items for the nine months through September was 657 million euros ($885 million), compared to 17 million euros in 2012. The share price spiked 4.5 percent to 365 pence.

CEO Willie Walsh says the London and trans-Atlantic market boosted performance while the troubled Spanish Iberia unit, where costs have been cut, showed growth. Walsh said Friday there was a 100 million euros boost following the "Olympic effect." Many travelers skipped London last summer amid fears it would be congested.

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