Aer Lingus has said it is sticking to its profit targets for the year, with operating profits of around €60m predicted.

In an interim management statement, the airline said its third quarter operating profit was €95m, up 4.4% on the same time last year. 

Third quarter revenue rose by 1.2% to €466.3m, while operating costs rose by only 0.4% to €381.4m.

During the three month period, the airline carried 2.913 million passengers on both its short haul and long haul routes, down 0.9% on the same time last year. 

Its long haul services saw a 15.8% increase in passenger numbers and a 0.4 percentage point increase in load factor to 91.7%.

But its short haul numbers fell by 2.8% to 2.568 million, while the load factor dropped  by 1.7 percentage points to 82% as the good Irish summer weather affected the number of people flying. 

For the year-to-date, however, Aer Lingus is running over 9% behind 2012.

Aer Lingus shares closed more than 5.7% higher in Dublin trade today.

In the statement, Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller said that s a mix of strong competition and good weather conditions in Ireland and the UK during the summer have hit its short-haul performance.

He said the airline does not expect any improvement in the short haul environment for the rest of the year, which remains characterised by heavily discounted fares across Europe.

"The 2013 outlook on long haul remains positive with the exception of some weakness expected in November which was previously communicated. We maintain our current guidance for full year 2013 operating profit, before net exceptional items, to be around €60m," he added.

The airline boss also expressed disappointment at the ongoing process to resolve pension issues which, he said, is hurting the airline's ability to keep its costs under control.

Meanwhile, Aer Lingus also said that its passenger numbers - including those on its regional operations - fell by 0.5% to 957,000 in October compared to the same month last year.

Its short haul passenger numbers - including Aer Lingus Regional - fell by 2.2% to 857,000, while long haul passengers jumped by 16.3% to 100,000 during the month.