By Andy Sambidge
Abu Dhabi airline reports double-digit growth in passenger and cargo volumes during the first half of 2014
Etihad Airways on Tuesday reported double-digit growth in passenger and cargo volumes during the first half of 2014, with total revenues increasing to $3.2 billion, up 28 percent.
A total of 6.7 million passengers travelled with the Abu Dhabi-based airline between January and June, almost 22 percent higher than the 5.5 million passengers in the same period last year.
Etihad Cargo also outperformed the global market, carrying 268,713 tonnes of freight and mail during the first half of 2014, up 25 percent year-on-year, and it remains on track to become a billion dollar business in 2014.
The H1 performance was supported by Etihad's continued growth in the second quarter, with 3.5 million passengers and 140,892 tonnes of freight and mail carried over the three-month period, both up 25 percent on the same period last year.
James Hogan, president and CEO of Etihad, said: "At a time when the global airline industry has struggled with high fuel prices, intense competition and a slowdown in the cargo market, Etihad Airways has achieved record success, carrying more passengers and cargo to more destinations around the world, with our biggest fleet to date.
"We have ambitious plans to build on this momentum in the second half of 2014, with five more destinations being introduced into our global network, and our ground-breaking Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 also entering service, which will reinforce our status as a global market leader."
Etihad said its global route network had 98 destinations operational by the end of H1, compared to 92 in the same period last year, and will increase to 103 by the end of the year.
The airline added in a statement that organic growth was supported by codeshare and equity alliance partnerships in the first half of 2014, delivering an estimated 1.4 million passengers onto Etihad Airways flights and contributing revenue of $471 million, which represented 23 percent of the airline's passenger revenue.
The airline's fleet also expanded to 102 aircraft, with seven aircraft delivered in the second quarter alone.
An additional six aircraft will be received in the second half of 2014, including its first Airbus A380 and Boeing 787, which commence operations in December.
Etihad said its workforce grew to 20,149 employees by the end of the first half, up 28 percent year-on-year, with 1,628 employees being UAE nationals.