Aer Lingus has reported a fall in losses for the first half of the year.

The airline said it lost €9.9m in the six months to end of June, a fall of 40% on the same period last year.

The improvement comes despite industrial action by staff earlier this year which cost the airline €10m.

"The airline delivered a strong performance for the first six months of 2014, despite the adverse effect of operational disruptions and strong competition, particularly in certain short haul markets," Aer Lingus said in a statement

"Overall passenger volumes increased by 1.0% to 4.615m and the load factor was up by 0.6% even with capacity growth in the period of 5.3%.

"Total revenues were up 6.0% to €697.2m (2013: €657.9m) with fare revenue per seat increasing by 5.5% to €89.18 in H1 2014."

The airline said a H1 operating loss before net exceptional items of €9.9m represented a 39.6% improvement over the previous year.

"This first half operating result would have approached breakeven in the absence of strike action in the first six months of 2014."

Even with the strike action, Aer Lingus’ Q2 2014 operating profit of €38.7m was its best reported second quarter result for at least five years.

Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller says the airline’s transatlantic routes have boosted the company.

"Our long-haul business is performing very well," Mr Mueller said.

"It's not necessarily to and from Ireland only; we now reach out to the UK and to continental Europe.

"50% of our long-haul passengers are either transferring in the United States or in Dublin towards Europe, and that is a big success story."

Mr Mueller said that based on recent trading trends, Aer Lingus expected that full year 2014 operating profit (before net exceptional items) will at least in line with 2013 (i.e. €61.1m).

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