Etihad airways smashes expectations and posts double expected profits
The national airline of the UAE racked up $1.4 billion in revenues as it transported 3.2 million passengers, higher by over 14 per cent year-on-year. The growth rate is more than double a recent estimate from the International Air Transport Association, or Iata, that passenger demand will increase 5.8 per cent this year on a global basis.
James Hogan, president and chief executive officer of Etihad Airways, said: “During the first quarter of 2014, we have continued to outperform the passenger and cargo markets, and raise the bar even further for Etihad Airways.”
The carrier’s volumes were boosted by the fast-paced growth of its international route network, with 95 destinations operational by the end of the first quarter 2014, an increase of six compared to the same period in 2013.
“Our strong performance highlights the continued success of Etihad Airways’ strategic master plan, which focuses on the three fundamental pillars of organic network growth, codeshare partnerships and minority equity investments in other airlines around the world. This unique strategy, and the investments we have made in product, service and infrastructure, means that Etihad Airways is positioned strongly for top-line growth and bottom-line delivery in 2014,” Hogan said.
Network highlights in the first quarter included the start of a daily service to the holy city of Madinah, Etihad Airways’ fourth destination in Saudi Arabia, while frequencies increased on six existing routes, including New York, Munich, Colombo and Chengdu. The airline will commence services to eight more destinations over the remainder of 2014, increasing its global route network to 103 by the end of the year. Organic growth was supported by the development of codeshare and equity partnerships, which delivered 678,000 passengers onto Etihad Airways flights in the first quarter of 2014, 25 per cent higher than the same period last year. Revenue from codeshare and equity partners rose 23 per cent to $223 million, representing 22 per cent of total revenue in the quarter.
During this period, new codeshare agreements were signed with Air Europa and JetBlue, while an existing codeshare with airBaltic was expanded. Etihad Airways also obtained regulatory approval to acquire a 49 per cent share of Air Serbia. To accommodate the double-digit growth in passenger volumes, Etihad Airways’ fleet expanded to 95 aircraft in the first quarter of 2014, marking an increase of 30 per cent in the fleet size over the same period last year.
Cargo volumes were strengthened by the launch of a joint freighter service with DHL, serving Pakistan and GCC market