August 17 2021  |  Airlines & Airports

Etihad reports progressive recovery

By Wendy Morley

Despite an inconsistent and overall delayed return to international travel due to variants and subsequent waves, Etihad Airways has announced financial results for the first half of 2021 that show a progressive recovery across its business.

Etihad Airways launched or restarted operations to 10 destinations in H1 2021

In H1 2021 the airline carried one million passengers, with an average seat load factor of 24.9%. The airline has shown a 10% month-on-month growth in passenger volumes since restarting passenger operations in July 2020.

The airline has operated almost 3,500 flights a month to 67 destinations by the end of June 2021. Etihad has launched or restarted operations to 10 destinations since January 2021.

While passenger revenue dropped due to new variants affecting key travel markets in the Indian Sub-Continent and Europe, this was offset by strong performance in cargo operations.

Etihad’s clear focus in H1 2021 has been on cost control, helping the airline to rebuild its liquidity position to pre-pandemic levels. Overall, Etihad recorded a core operating loss of US$0.4 billion for H1 2021 (half the loss of US$0.8 billion in H1 2020), with EBITDA turning to a positive US$0.1 billion from a negative US$ 0.1 billion in the same period of 2020.

Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, said: “Every day, Etihad Airways is making up for lost ground. Despite the curveball of the Delta variant disrupting the global recovery in air travel, we have continued to ramp up operations and are today in a much better place than this time in 2020. As soon as destinations are added to the Abu Dhabi green list or UAE travel corridors, we are seeing a three to six-fold jump in bookings in some cases, showing there is a tidal wave of demand waiting to be unleashed. We are ready to welcome more guests on board to experience why Etihad is second to none when it comes to ensuring passenger wellbeing.”

Adam Boukadida, Chief Financial Officer, said: “While market demand has been slower to recover than anticipated, our record cargo performance has continued to buoy the business. At the same time, we have continued to strengthen underlying fundamentals to place Etihad in a better position to maximise the value of passenger revenue as our volumes return. Our rock-solid credit rating has remained unwavering throughout the pandemic and was once again reaffirmed at ‘A with a stable outlook’ by Fitch in April 2021, serving as a clear sign of the long-term financial viability of our business. While the pandemic still poses challenges, Etihad is on the path to becoming a sustainable and profitable business.”

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