PO Box 35566, Head Office, Khalifa City A,
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Etihad Airways today reported revenues growth of 39 per cent to US$ 1.1 billion (Q3 2010: US$ 785 million) on passenger numbers up 18 per cent to 2.25 million (1.9 million) in the airline’s strongest ever third quarter. Seat factor increased by 3.8 per cent to 80.7 per cent, the highest quarterly result in its history.
Operating costs rose 12 per cent, on a 12 per cent rise in capacity, while non-fuel costs rose only 7 per cent.
The airline has 81 per cent of its fuel hedged for the rest of 2011.
Etihad’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr James Hogan, said these figures contributed to strong profitability at an EBITDAR (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and rentals) level and the airline had moved into monthly operating profitability.
“Despite the continuing challenges of high fuel prices and economic downturn in many of the markets in which Etihad operates, we are seeing strong growth in all our key commercial indicators,” Mr Hogan said.
“We are doing this by creating and marketing the world’s leading air travel product, while maintaining a rigorous focus on costs.
“Our clear target is to break even in 2011 and this is another big step in the right direction for us. We are well on track to delivering a continuing financial return to our shareholder.”
The quarter saw consistently strong performance across all markets. Particularly popular routes included those to the Americas (New York, Chicago and Toronto), Asia Pacific (Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Colombo, Manila, Sydney and Melbourne), Cairo, London, Dublin, Athens and Istanbul.
Etihad has added six aircraft to its fleet in the last 12 months, enabling the airline to build greater depth into its schedule and increase weekly frequencies to key markets including Paris, Manchester, Milan, Geneva, Brussels, Bangalore, and Manila.
In the coming months Etihad will begin flying to six new destinations: the Maldives (from November 1), the Seychelles (November 2), Chengdu in China (December 15), Düsseldorf (December 16), Shanghai (March 1, 2012) and Nairobi (April 1, 2012).
“Next year we take delivery of another seven passenger aircraft – four B777-300ER aircraft, plus three A320-200s – so the careful, strategic expansion of our global network will continue apace,” Mr Hogan said.
Etihad Crystal Cargo also performed well during Q3, with revenue up US$ 37 million to US$ 168 million (US$ 131 million), supported by a 16 per cent year-on-year growth in tonnage (from 66,916 to 77,623 tonnes) and a 10 per cent year-on-year increase in average yields.
In July, Almaty became a freighter destination, while a new B777 freighter entered service which now operates six times a week to Shanghai. In September, Etihad expanded its Johannesburg operations to include a twice weekly dedicated freighter operation.
The record results were released just days after Etihad was named Airline of the Year in the UK’s Travel Trade Gazette (TTG) Awards and was voted Business Airline of the Year by readers of The Guardian and Observer newspapers, the latest in a series of awards recognising its service in key global markets.