One of the ways that airlines have been using to return their profits to investors, rather than paying an often very small dividend on the shares they own, is to physically buy them back.
When IAG says it cannot afford to pay its staff or invest in new equipment, its because its busy doing just this. IAG, owners of Vueling, British Airways, Aer Lingus and Iberia have just spent almost £500m on buying back its own shares since March this year.
Rather than reinvest in staff, the business, training or facilities, its given shareholders a bumper bonus.
Its activities like this that keep IAG and its airlines at the bottom of the rung, always just getting by but never truely getting or giving the best of anything. The reports of just passable service, demoralised staff, low pay, just keep coming, but IAG and its shareholders are happy.