Tuesday 12 December 2017

Jump in passenger levels boosts Etihad's revenues

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad, which owns nearly 3pc of Aer Lingus, has posted a 31pc jump in second-quarter revenue to $1.25bn (€1bn) as passenger numbers in the period climbed 34pc to 2.55 million.

The airline, which acquired its interest in Aer Lingus earlier this year and which has expressed an interest in buying the state's 25.1pc stake in the Irish carrier, said its figures for the second quarter had been boosted by strategic partnerships and codeshare agreements.

For the first half of the year, revenue was 30pc higher at $2.24bn, while passenger numbers were up nearly 29pc to 4.89 million.

Aside from acquiring a stake in Aer Lingus during the first half of the year, Etihad also took a minority stake in Virgin Australia and boosted its share in Air Berlin and Air Seychelles.

Etihad said that those airlines and its own operations carried a total of 72 million passengers on last year, generating revenues of more than $14bn.

"These results are an endorsement of our strategy, which has seen us widen and deepen our partnerships in addition to continued focus on our organic growth plan," said Etihad chief executive James Hogan yesterday.

"In a quarter when many airlines have seen demand softening, we have been able to add more passengers than ever before, with growth outstripping our capacity increases."

But even as Etihad expands its global reach, international airline organisations have been warning that carriers in Europe and North America face significant headwinds due to on-going economic uncertainty.

But Mr Hogan has said Etihad remains confident it can continue to remain profitable despite that. Last year was the first time it became profitable on an operational basis.

"This continues to be a tough operating environment for all airlines. Our strategies allow us to drive quality revenue and we remain focused and on track to deliver profitability for the full year, for the second year running."

He declined to comment yesterday on whether or not the airline planned to increase its stakes in other airlines, including Aer Lingus, in the short term.

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