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RECORD PERFORMANCE

Etihad Q3 revenue surges 19pc to $1.3bn

Abu Dhabi, October 7, 2012

UAE national airline Etihad Airways said its third quarter revenues soared 19 per cent to $1.3 billion compared to $1.1 billion during the same period last year.

It said it was confident of full-year profitability despite a challenging global economic environment.

Announcing the results on Sunday, Etihad said the record revenues reflected the growth in passenger numbers which was poised to touch 10 million in 2012 driven by record seat factors.

The rise in revenues continues to outperform the airline’s growth in capacity and Etihad remains confident of achieving full year profitability for the second year running, said a statement from the Abu Dhabi carrier.

Passenger revenues were boosted by codeshare and partner revenues, which jumped 51 per cent to $182 million over $121 million last year. The airline's 38 partners helped to create a total network of 315 destinations, more than any other Middle Eastern carrier, it added.

Seat factors of 81.2 per cent mark the best ever quarterly performance by the airline, with passenger numbers on track to pass the 10 million milestone in 2012, it added.

A significant contribution came from airberlin, in which Etihad holds a 29.21 per cent equity stake. The two airlines' extensive codeshare and joint marketing agreements have delivered $51 million in revenues to Etihad year-to-date, surpassing the initial full year estimates.

Etihad Airways and airberlin have delivered a combined total of more than 150,000 passengers into each other’s networks so far this year.

Air Seychelles, in which Etihad holds a 40 per cent stake, continues to grow revenues through increased frequencies and codeshares, with four flights to Abu Dhabi now offering 375 sub-four hour onward connections a week.

Virgin Australia, in which Etihad holds a 10 per cent stake, continued to deliver a strong contribution, with codeshare revenues to Etihad Airways up 16 per cent year-on-year.

Commenting on the results, President and CEO James Hogan said, "Our third quarter saw continued progress across the business, with all key indicators showing strong performance and we remain confident of delivering full year profitability based on current market conditions."

"We are particularly pleased with the contribution from our codeshare and equity partners. This component of our strategy is delivering a strong and growing revenue stream, complementing our own double-digit organic growth," he added.

He pointed out that the revenue from codeshare partners represented 18 per cent of Etihad’s total passenger revenue in the quarter.

During the quarter, the airline signed interline and codeshare agreements with Aer Lingus, China Eastern Airlines and RAK Airways, further expanding the network’s footprint.

Etihad, he said, continued to drive down costs, with costs per available seat kilometre (CASK), excluding fuel, falling to their lowest levels this year.

An independent benchmarking study by aviation consultants Seabury shows that Etihad Airways is in the lowest cost quartile for CASK, when compared to major international full service airlines.

According to him, fuel remained the single largest operating cost for the business and represented 37 per cent of total expenditure for the quarter.

Etihad has 80 per cent of its fuel hedged at price levels well below current market prices with 21 leading international financial institutions for the remainder of 2012, as part of a three-year rolling hedging program, he noted.

"We continue to face an incredibly tough operating environment. Fuel prices remain high and the global economy still carries challenges. The Eurozone remains in trouble and there is still some softness in a number of Middle Eastern markets," he remarked.

"However, the wide segmentation of our business is helping to ensure our continued profitable growth. Australia and our major Asian markets are performing strongly," said Hogan.

"Our routes into China - Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu - are showing particular potential, which will be further boosted by the strong growth of connecting markets into Africa and our codeshares," he added.

Etihad launched daily services to Lagos during the third quarter, with new routes soon to open to Ahmedabad (November 1) and Addis Ababa (November 2). New routes to Washington DC, Sao Paolo and Ho Chi Minh City have already been announced for 2013.

The growth of the network will be further supported by the delivery of three new aircraft in the next three months – two Airbus A320s and one three-class Boeing 777-300ER - with a further 14 due for delivery in 2013 (six Boeing 777-300ER, five Airbus A320/A321, two Boeing 777 freighters and one Airbus A330 freighter).

The Abu Dhabi airline also witnessed growth in its cargo revenues which were significantly ahead of last year, up six per cent to $181.6 million. The airline's dedicated freighter fleet of six aircraft now serves eight cargo-only destinations (Amsterdam, Benghazi, Dubai, Hahn, Hong Kong, Djibouti, Kabul and Sharjah) in addition to the wider Etihad Airways network.

Freighter services were launched to Dammam and Doha during the quarter, increased to Libya and Italy, and upgraded to Hong Kong.

Etihad Cargo carried 93,560 T of freight in the third quarter, 18 per cent more than in the corresponding period last year (79,378 tonnes), with customers being offered more choice of destinations from the airline’s newly launched passenger services.

Also rapidly growing is the number of UAE nationals working for Etihad Airways, with the 1,000th Emirati member of staff joining the company. Also during this quarter, UAE nationals have become the largest nationality group at Etihad, a significant move in ranking from ninth position in 2008.

"Emiratis now make up 21 per cent of the airline’s core employee workforce and the Emiratisation scheme, launched in 2007, offers a wide range of career opportunities for UAE nationals, including programs for cadet pilots, technical engineers, graduate managers, guest service agents and call centre agents," revealed Hogan.

In 2012 Etihad introduced two new programs attracting UAE nationals to join its global workforce as part of the graduate development program for sales and airport operations. Emiratisation programs currently have over 570 trainees deployed across various streams within the airline.

"Abu Dhabi Government has identified tourism as one of seven sectors which will lead job creation for Emiratis during this decade.  At Etihad, we are proud to be playing our part in delivering on that vision and in supporting the work of the Abu Dhabi Tawteen Council," he added.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Etihad | Passengers | Revenue | code share | UAE airline |

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