Etihad Airways today reported its most successful first half year, with revenues up 28 per cent to US$ 1,720 million (H1 2010: US$ 1,342 million), driven by solid performances in both passenger and cargo activities.
A 2 per cent reduction in costs per available seat kilometer, despite large increases in oil prices, also helped deliver a positive EBITDAR (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and rentals) in the six months from January 1 for the first time.
The results mark continued progress towards the airline’s goal of breaking even this year and moving into sustainable profitability in 2012.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer, said the results were achieved despite a still fragile economy and, at times, difficult operating conditions.
They were released as Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, prepares to significantly expand its global network.
Last week flights to two new Chinese cities, Chengdu and Shanghai were announced and services to Male and the Seychelles start on November 1.
“These are exciting new destinations for us. China is a huge market and Chengdu is the economic centre and transportation and communications hub of the country’s booming southwest region.
“We are determined to build a schedule which increases customer choice and attracts local point-to-point traffic in line with the Abu Dhabi 2030 plan,” Mr. Hogan said.
The delivery of five new wide-body passenger aircraft – three A330-300s and two B777-300ERs during the 2011 summer allowed frequencies to be increased to several major markets.
Manchester becomes a double -daily destination from August 1. Daily services were also introduced to Geneva, Milan and Beijing, while two extra flights to Brussels enabled the Belgian capital to be serviced eight times a week.
Mr. Hogan said passenger revenues rose 21 per cent on the back of a 14 per cent growth in passenger numbers to 3.8 million and 5 per cent growth in passenger yield.
Despite political unrest in the Middle East and the Japanese earthquake, seat factor increased to 72.9 per cent (H1 2010: 72.5 per cent).
Etihad’s cargo operations enjoyed strong growth with revenues up by 32 per cent in the first half of the year, bolstered by improvement in tonnage and yields.
Just last week Etihad took delivery of its first Boeing 777 Freighter, joining its cargo fleet of two Airbus A330-200F, two Airbus A300-600F aircraft and two McDonnell Douglas MD11s.
Etihad Crystal Cargo now operates to 26 cargo freighter destinations internationally and to 83 destinations across the globe.
. Other highlights for the first half of the year included
- Being named the airline with the Best First Class in the world for the second year running in Skytrax’s annual World Airline Awards.
- Acknowledged as the Middle East’s Leading Airline in the World Travel Awards, as voted by 213,000 travel industry professionals.
- The introduction of 100 qualified international chefs dedicated to food service excellence in Diamond First class cabins. This five-star restaurant style of service in the sky will begin on selected routes from October and be fully available on all flights offering First class by the end of the year.
- Agreements signed with three new code-share partners; Air Astana, Air New Zealand and Czech Airlines, which became Etihad’s 31st airline partner.