IAS 19, paras 99-108, credit resulting from closure of plan to future accrual, additional provision for equalisation of benefits

International Consolidated Airlines Group, S.A. – Annual report – 31 December 2018

Industry: airline

4 Exceptional items


1 Restructuring costs
During 2018 British Airways continued to implement the restructuring programme that started in July 2016, to develop a more efficient and cost effective structure. The overall costs of the programme principally comprise employee severance costs and include other directly associated costs such as onerous lease provisions and asset write down costs. Costs incurred in the year to December 31, 2018 in respect of this programme amount to €136 million (2017: €108 million), with a related tax credit of €26 million (2017: €21 million).

In the year to December 31, 2017, €180 million of restructuring costs were recognised at Iberia, related to the announcement of a new Transformation Plan. A related tax credit of €45 million was also recognised.

2 Employee benefit obligations
British Airways closed its New Airways Pension Scheme (NAPS) to future accrual and British Airways Retirement Plan (BARP) to future contributions from March 31, 2018. The schemes have been replaced by a flexible defined contribution scheme, the British Airways Pension Plan (BAPP). The changes resulted in a one-off reduction of the NAPS IAS 19 defined benefit liability of €872 million and associated transitional arrangement cash costs of €192 million through employee costs. These items are presented net, together with BARP closure costs, as an exceptional credit within the Income Statement of €678 million, with a related tax charge of €58 million.

On 26 October 2018, the High Court of Justice of England and Wales issued a judgement in a claim by Lloyds Banking Group Pension Trustees Limited as claimant to Lloyds Bank plc and others as defendants regarding the rights of female members of certain pension schemes to equality of treatment in relation to pension benefits. The judgement concluded that the claimant is under a duty to amend the schemes in order to equalise benefits for men and women in relation to Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP) benefits. The judgement affects some of the occupational pension schemes of British Airways as set out in note 30. The estimated increase in IAS 19 liabilities as a result of the High Court judgement has been recorded as an exceptional charge of €94 million.

30 Employee benefit obligations (extract)
The Group operates a variety of post-employment benefit arrangements, covering both defined contribution and defined benefit schemes. The Group also has a scheme for flight crew who meet certain conditions and therefore have the option of being placed on reserve and retaining their employment relationship until reaching the statutory retirement age, or taking early retirement (note 24).

Defined contribution schemes
The Group operates a number of defined contribution schemes for its employees. The defined contribution scheme British Airways Retirement Plan (BARP) was closed to future contributions on March 31, 2018. The BARP and NAPS schemes (see below) have been replaced by a flexible benefit scheme, incorporating a new defined contribution scheme that offers a choice of contribution rates and the ability to opt for cash instead of a pension.

Costs recognised in respect of defined contribution pension plans in Spain, UK and Ireland for the year to December 31, 2018 were €214 million (2017: €135 million).

Defined benefit schemes (extract)
i APS and NAPS (extract)
The principal funded defined benefit pension schemes within the Group are the Airways Pension Scheme (APS) and the New Airways Pension Scheme (NAPS), both of which are in the UK and are closed to new members. NAPS was closed to future accrual from March 31, 2018, resulting in a reduction of the defined benefit obligation. Following closure members’ deferred pensions will now be increased annually by inflation up to five per cent per annum (measured using CPI), which is generally lower than the previous assumption for pay growth which included pay rises and promotions. NAPS members were offered a choice of transition arrangements, including non-cash options to increase their NAPS pensions prior to closure. The financial effect of the closure and the non-cash transition arrangements was a past service gain of €872 million which has been presented as an exceptional item net of transition costs of €192 million which were paid either directly to members or into their pension accounts. British Airways currently makes deficit contributions to NAPS of €333 million per annum until September 2027 plus additional contributions of up to €167 million per year depending on the cash balance at the end of March each year. As part of the closure of NAPS, British Airways agreed to make certain additional transition payments to NAPS members if the deficit had reduced more than expected at either the 2018 or 2021 valuations. No allowance for such payments has been made in the valuation of the defined benefit obligation.