Etihad sees 41% improvement on pre-COVID performance

Supplied

Etihad Airways today announced its business results for 2021, recording a strong recovery in passenger operations along with a significant improvement in financial performance.

The airline posted a much-reduced loss of US$ 476 million for 2021 (2020: US$ 1.70 billion).

It carried 3.5 million passengers in 2021, with an average seat load factor of 39.6%.

Passenger loads doubled in the second half of the year, reaching 70.1% in December as travel demand peaked during the winter holiday period.

There was a particularly strong surge in passenger volumes in Q4 following the September relaxation of mandatory quarantine periods in Abu Dhabi.

The airline launched or restarted operations to 13 destinations in 2021, most notably introducing scheduled services to Tel Aviv following the normalisation of relations between the UAE and Israel.

Etihad Airways posted passenger revenues of US$ 1.07 billion in 2021, down by 14% year-on-year.

While ongoing travel restrictions and new variants of the virus dampened demand, the airline saw passenger revenues bounce back in the last quarter of the year, recovering to 50% of 2019 levels in December.

Cargo operations meanwhile continued to outperform expectations, with a 27% year-on-year increase in freight carried in 2021 (729,200 tonnes) coupled with a rise in cargo revenues of 49% to US$ 1.73 billion, the highest figure in the history of the airline.

"In another year of global uncertainty, Etihad Airways has continued to move forward, strengthen its business, and build on its world-class travel proposition. As always, this has been thanks to our remarkable people who have gone above and beyond to make the most of every opportunity. Despite the slowdown caused by Omicron, we are confident that the spring and summer season will continue to see a resurgence in travel as more people return to the skies," said Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer.

"We look forward to our guests being able to experience our state-of-the-art Airbus A350s when they debut later this year, taking pride of place alongside our Boeing 787s. With one of the most fuel-efficient fleets in the world and with sustainability at the very top of our agenda, we will continue to pave the way for more sustainable flying in 2022 and beyond," he added.

As operations progressively ramped up throughout 2021, Etihad maintained an absolute focus on cost control, decreasing operating costs by a further US$ 110 million, despite a US$ 197 million increase in fuel costs driven by rallying oil prices.

Fixed overhead costs and finance costs also recorded a significant reduction, decreasing by 14% (or US$ 110 million) and 20% (or US$ 90 million) respectively.

As a result, the airline managed to maintain strong liquidity in 2021.

More from Business News