IBERIA AIRLINES is expected to return to profit next year, 12 months ahead of an earlier forecast.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of the carrier´s parent company IAG, said the airline is on target to operate at a profit in 2014 after reporting its first reduction in losses for three years in the second quarter of the year.

The news follows a €700 million restructure, which saw it shed 1,700 jobs at its Madrid base.

The Spanish airline became unprofitable in all markets, including long-haul, following its merger with British Airways in 2011.

It also endured stiff competition from low cost rivals and high speed trains in the domestic market, as well as the repercussions of the country´s most severe recession in history.

Walsh said: “Iberia was in a significant crisis but is well on the path to recovery. Iberia will be profitable next year, like British Airways already is.

“It is still loss making at the moment, but we will bring it back to profitability next year.”

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