Aer Lingus recorded an operating profit before exceptional items of €40 million for H1 2023, having delivered a very strong performance in Q2 2023. The positive H1 performance demonstrates an increased seasonality in the business with a Q1 operating loss of €81m being offset by a €121m operating profit in Q2. The Q2 operating profit demonstrates strong momentum as Aer Lingus builds towards the peak summer season in 2023.
The positive financial performance achieved by Aer Lingus in H1 2023, while still below pre-pandemic levels, allows us to continue the focus on repairing our balance sheet throughout the recovery phase and beyond which is needed to fund future investment.
The momentum achieved in the Q2 2023 financial performance was based on strong leisure performance on both our long haul and short haul network. We have rebuilt our capacity to pre-pandemic levels, and expanded our transatlantic routes and frequency, offering the largest ever number of seats to North America in 2023. As part of our long haul programme we began operating a new route to Cleveland, Ohio and recommenced flying to Hartford, Connecticut.
Short haul to Europe also performed strongly during Quarter 2, with the sun destinations in high demand. While leisure travel has delivered strongly, business travel has not yet fully recovered, emphasising the key importance of the summer peak to the business.