The company said it currently expects passenger numbers to increase sharply in coming months, as it forecast rates would be 80 per cent of 2019 levels in Q2, 85 per cent in Q3, and 90 per cent in Q4. The firm said higher passenger numbers were in part being driven by the highest levels of business travel since the start of the pandemic alongside strong demand for premium leisure. The aviation giant blamed omicron on a higher number of cancellations in January and February but said it had not seen any impact on passenger number from the war in Ukraine. AIG chief executive Luis Gallego said: “Demand is recovering strongly in line with our previous expectations. We expect to be profitable from the second quarter onwards and for the full year.” “The welcome removal of UK’s stringent travel restrictions, combined with strong pent-up demand, have contributed to a steep ramp up in capacity.”

Workers at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in a dispute over pay.

Members of the Prospect union backed strikes by 2-1 and by almost 9-1 for other forms of industrial action.

The union said the CAA had refused to provide a “fair” pay rise for this year.

Prospect added that an internal survey of CAA workers found that two in five are considering leaving the organisation because of poor pay and excessive workload.

It was the first time a ballot on industrial action has taken place at the CAA, said Prospect.

Turnout was 65%, well over the required legal threshold.

The timing and nature of industrial action will be decided in due course.

Mike Clancy, general secretary of Prospect, said: “More than a decade of real terms pay cuts have left our members at the CAA with no choice but to take industrial action.

“During the initial stages of the pandemic they did their part by taking a pay cut to enable their employer to continue to function.

“This show of goodwill has not been returned and inadequate pay levels are having a serious impact on recruitment and retention at the CAA.

“The employer can still avert this industrial action by coming back to the table with a meaningful offer that addresses the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

“If they do not do so, then the CAA’s status as a world-class aviation regulator is at risk.”

Rob Bishton, interim chief executive at the Civil Aviation Authority, said: “It is disappointing that some members of the Prospect Union have voted in favour of industrial action.

“We recognise the cost-of-living challenges that colleagues face, which is why we’ve already implemented a 5% pay rise, along with a further pay increase for many staff in October. This increase also takes account of the interests of those who pay our charges and public sector pay policy.

“With a modest proportion of the Civil Aviation Authority’s workforce who are members of Prospect, should there be any action by our colleagues, we do not anticipate any disruption to the aviation sector. We continue to engage constructively with Prospect.”

The CAA said around 240 employees were members of Prospect – 16% of a total workforce of around 1,500.