February 28, 2019 / 7:33 AM / 25 days ago

UPDATE 1-BA owner IAG expects no earnings growth in 2019

(Adds quote, detail, Boeing 777-9 order)

LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) - British Airways owner 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 on Thursday.

IAG reported a 9.5 percent rise in operating profit before exceptional items for the year to December 31 to 3.23 billion euros, but said there would be no growth in 2019 as earnings would be in line with the previous year's results.

"This was a very good performance despite three significant challenges: fuel prices increasing 30 percent, considerable Air Traffic Control disruption and an adverse foreign exchange impact of 129 million euros," Chief Executive Willie Walsh said.

IAG said that passenger revenue rose 6.2 percent across the group, with passenger unit revenue up 2.4 percent.

In a separate statement, IAG said it would order 18 Boeing 777-9s and options for 24 more for British Airways to replace 14 747-400s and four 777-200s between 2022 and 2025.

Reporting by Alistair Smout, editing by James Davey

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