Etihad Posts Record Profit as Long-Haul Travel Mounts Comeback - BLOOMBERG
JULY 28, 2022
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Etihad Airways posted a record first-half profit as long-haul travel revived with the easing of coronavirus curbs and the Gulf carrier added flights to European resorts to tap pent-up demand for vacations.
The Abu Dhabi-based company had a core operating profit of $296 million in the first six months, compared with a loss of $392 million a year earlier, even after fuel costs increased by almost 60%, it said in a statement Thursday.
Passenger loads increased consistently over the period, rising by almost 22 percentage points, as bookings recovered and Abu Dhabi further relaxed pandemic-related restrictions from February.
Etihad coped better with the Covid pandemic than many other airlines after a major downsizing from 2017 slashed costs and repositioned it as a mid-size carrier. The company had racked up billions of dollars in losses under a previous strategy of focusing overwhelmingly on inter-continental markets.
Chief Executive Officer Tony Douglas said in the release that traffic had come “roaring back” in 2022, and “thanks to our transformation program, Etihad is emerging from the pandemic stronger.”
Passenger sales tripled in the first six months, aided by seasonal flights to locations such as Nice in France and holiday islands in Greece popular with Emiratis seeking to escape Abu Dhabi’s summer heat. Cargo revenue gained 6% even as volumes carried dipped by almost a fifth with belly-hold space increasingly filled with customer bags.
Etihad didn’t provide a full-year outlook, though Douglas said in April it was possible the carrier would show positive earnings for all of 2022, one year ahead of schedule, after turning profitable in the first quarter.
The carrier has ditched less-efficient planes including Airbus SE A340s and A330s and Boeing Co. 777s, while its A380 superjumbos are in storage. That leaves the fleet focused on Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A350s.