Aer Lingus has reported an operating profit was €305m for 2018, a record performance for the airline and an improvement of 13.8% (€37m) over last year. 

The airline's capacity increased by 10% as a result of new routes including new services to Philadelphia and Seattle. 

Its passenger unit revenues decreased by 1.2% during the year, while its fuel unit costs rose by 9.8%.

Aer Lingus said it achieved significant cost savings through efficient growth with higher productivity and from cost initiatives. This included areas such as procurement and handling. 

The parent of Aer Lingus IAG also today reported higher revenue and profits for 2018. 

In its results for the 12 months to the end of December, the group – which also owns British Airways, Iberia and Vueling – reported profit after tax and exceptional items of €2.9 billion, an increase of 11% on 2017.

Total group revenue of €24.4 billion was 6.7% higher.

Adjusted earnings per share came in at 117.7 cent, an increase of over 15% on 2017.

IAG said it expected earnings in 2019 to be flat after it weathered the impact of rising fuel costs and air traffic control disruption to meet expectations for its 2018 results. 

"This was a very good performance despite three significant challenges: fuel prices increasing 30%, considerable air traffic control disruption and an adverse foreign exchange impact of €129m," commented IAG's chief executive Willie Walsh. 

Mr Walsh said that the airline group's passenger unit revenue improved by 2.4% while non-fuel unit costs decreased by 0.8% on capacity growth of 6.1%.

He also said the airline group remains confident that there will be a comprehensive air transport deal between the UK and the EU after Brexit. 

IAG was in the news in recent days as it was delisted from a number of stock market indices operated by MSCI.

This has got to do with its plans to ensure that IAG is majority European owned by March 29 – Brexit day – to ensure that it can continue flying in the EU. 

The airline has moved to cap the level of shares held by non-EU investors at 47.5%m, but that does not meet the MSCI criteria on what is called "foreign room", which sets out a minimum threshold of shares that must be available to foreign investors.