Etihad Airways July 8 announced its strongest second quarter and half-year financial performances on record, reflecting continued solid growth in its airline alliance strategy and global cargo operations.
The national carrier of the United Arab Emirates achieved an eight percent increase in Q2 2013 passenger revenues, generating US $921 million (2012: US $855 million), while passenger revenues for the first half of 2013 reached US $1.8 billion (2012: $1.6 billion), up by 13 percent.
Revenue generated by codeshare and equity alliance airline partners was US $184 million in Q2 2013. This was 25 percent above the US $147 million turnover in the same period of 2012. Partnership revenue comprised 20 percent of the airline’s total passenger revenue in both Q2 and the first half of 2013.
President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, James Hogan, said the company’s Q2 and half-year results were achieved despite the continuation of unsteady economic and geopolitical factors, with air fare yields slightly lower for the quarter, compressed by strong competitive capacity growth and resultant 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.”
Hogan said a significant achievement in Q2 was the improved contribution of the Etihad Airways’ equity alliance partners, in particular Germany’s airberlin, which has become the largest codeshare contributor. This reflects increased connectivity between the integrated networks of the two airlines.
Etihad Airways increased its codeshare partnerships during Q2, adding Serbia’s national carrier, JatAirways, and announced new partnerships with Air Canada, South African Airways and Belavia of Belarussia – all to take effect during Q3. With these inclusions, Etihad Airways will have 45 codeshare partners and a virtual global network of more than 350 destinations, the most comprehensive of any alliance or Middle Eastern airline.
In Q2, Etihad Airways’ Available Seat Kilometres (ASKs) – reflecting network seat capacity – rose by 13 percent to 17.2 billion (2012: 15.2 billion). Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPKs) – reflecting traffic – increased by 13 percent to 13.3 billion in Q2 2013 (2012: 11.8 billion).
This growth was achieved through the delivery of two new Boeing 777-300 passenger aircraft – a three-class version seating 328 passengers and a two-class model seating 380 – and a corresponding increase in flights, including new services to Amsterdam, Sao Paulo and Belgrade.
Results for Q2 were further strengthened by the introduction late in March of daily flights to a fourth new destination, Washington, D.C.
Etihad Cargo continued to achieve the strongest growth in the company, with 112,963 tons uplifted in Q2 2013 (2012: 89,470 tons) and 215,124 tons in the first half of 2013 (2012: 174,622 tons).
This reflected a massive 26 percent growth in Q2 and 23 percent growth for the first half of 2013.
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.
During Q2 Etihad Airways announced that, subject to regulatory approvals, it would acquire 24 percent of India’s Jet Airways, enlarging the Etihad Airways equity alliance and group network.
In addition, Etihad Airways signed an Initial Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Serbia to discuss potentially 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.
As well as its Virgin Australia stake, Etihad Airways holds a 29 percent shareholding in airberlin, 40 percent of Air Seychelles, and three percent of Aer Lingus.
In Q2 2013, Etihad Airways:
* Introduced daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Amsterdam, Netherlands
* Introduced daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Belgrade, Serbia
* Introduced an initial three flights per week between Abu Dhabi and Sao Paulo, Brazil
* Commenced codesharing with JatAirways, and announced new agreements with Air Canada, South African Airways and Belavia, effective from Q3
* Expanded codeshares with carriers including KLM, Air France, Aer Lingus and Alitalia
* Initiated discussions with the Serbian Government to acquire equity in the national carrier, JatAirways
* Secured Australian regulatory approval to increase shareholding in Virgin Australia from 10 percent to 19.9 percent.
* Added two new passenger aircraft and three new freight aircraft
* Won all three titles in the First Class category of the 2013 Skytrax Awards for airline excellence – Best First Class (fourth consecutive year), Best First Class Seats and Best First Class Catering.