Aer Lingus said has said that it has seen a strong performance in the third quarter ended 30 September.

The Irish airline reported a rise in operating profit of 35.4 per cent to 79.2 million euros, while in the year to date the airline swung from a loss of 34.4 million euros to an operating profit of 60.2 million euros.

Total revenue increased 5.5 per cent in the quarter to 411.7 million euros, while operating costs at Aer Lingus rose slightly by 0.3 per cent to 332.5 million euros, despite staff costs dropping nearly 20 per cent.

Aer Lingus said that its net debt had dropped 6.8 per cent to 530.8 million euros, while gross cash also fell 1.8 per cent to 951.9 million euros.

Christoph Mueller, CEO of Aer Lingus, said, "Our performance in the third quarter and year to date is a very significant improvement on 2009 and strongly supports our strategy. However, we remain cautious on the outlook for 2011 given concerns about the durability of the recent aviation sector performance as well as continuing economic uncertainty in our primary markets".