By Courtney Trenwith
Abu Dhabi carrier says passenger revenues for first six months reached $1.8bn, up by 13%
UAE national carrier Etihad Airways on Monday posted its strongest second quarter and half-year financial performances on record.
Passenger revenues increased eight percent during Q2 2013, generating $921m compared to $855m during the same period last year, and reached $1.8bn - a 13 percent increase - during the first half.
The Abu Dhabi-based airline said the strong performance reflected continued solid growth in its airline alliance strategy and global cargo operations.
Revenue generated by code share and equity alliance airline partners was $184m in Q2 2013, up 25 percent.
Partnership revenue comprised 20 percent of the airline’s total passenger revenue in both Q2 and the first half of 2013.
Etihad CEO and president James Hogan said the results were achieved despite continued difficulties in the industry amid tough economic and geopolitical factors and lower-than-usual airfare yields that were affected by strong competitive capacity growth and price competition.
“Despite the tough global trading climate, we have still achieved record, double-digit growth in both Q2 and the first half of 2013,” Hogan said.
“This reflects not only the continuing popularity of our Abu Dhabi hub, but the growing maturity of our airline partnership strategy and the strength of our cargo operations, which continue to well exceed industry growth rates.”
The airline increased its code share partnerships during the second quarter, adding Serbia’s national carrier JatAirways, as well as announcing new partnerships with Air Canada, South African Airways and Belavia of Belarussia to take effect during Q3.
It also announced it would acquire 24 percent of India’s Jet Airways, subject to approval, and signed an Initial Memorandum of Understanding with the Serbian government to discuss investing in JatAirways.
The airline also secured Australian regulatory approval to increase its equity stake in Virgin Australia from 10 percent to 19.9 percent.
During the quarter, Etihad received two new Boeing 777-300 passenger aircraft: a three-class version seating 328 passengers and a two-class model seating 380 passengers.
It also launched new services to Amsterdam, Sao Paulo and Belgrade, and daily flights to Washington DC, which helped to increase the airline’s seat capacity by 13 percent to 17.2bn seats in Q2.
Actual traffic grew 13 percent to 13.3bn seats in Q2.
Etihad Cargo continued to achieve the strongest growth in the company, with 112,963 tonnes uplifted in Q2 and 215,124 tonnes in the first half of 2013, reflecting a massive 26 percent growth in Q2 and 23 percent growth for the half.
The growth in cargo volumes was underpinned by the delivery in Q2 of three new freighter aircraft – one Airbus A330-200F, one Boeing 777-200F and the company’s first Boeing 747-8F, which was wet leased from Atlas Air – taking the cargo fleet to nine.
Cargo performance was further boosted by increased passenger services, providing more under-floor freight capacity, the airline said.
Last year, the airline’s full-year net profits increased 200 percent to $42m, while revenue increased 17 percent to $4.8bn and passengers rose 23 percent to 10.3m.