Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has achieved its strongest financial results to date in 2014, posting a net profit of US$ 73 million on total revenues of US$ 7.6 billion, up 52.1% and 26.7% respectively over the previous year.

The record performance, which marked the airline’s fourth consecutive year of net profitability, also saw earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) up 32.5% to US$ 257 million.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortization and rentals (EBITDAR) were up 16.2% to US$1.1 billion, representing a 15% margin on total revenues.

James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways while presenting this year’s report said that shareholder set a clear commercial mandate for this business and continue to deliver against that mandate.

“Our focus is on sustainable profitability and our fourth year of net profits, at a time when we continue to invest in the new routes, new aircraft, new product and new infrastructure needed to compete effectively, shows we are serious about that goal,” he said and added

“Our performance in 2014 has cemented Etihad Airways’ position as a best-in-class, profitable and self-sustaining international airline. We have continued to grow, not just in size, reputation and performance, but also in maturity, evolving from an airline to a diverse global aviation and tourism group,”

“This has been achieved througha unique strategy that combines industry-leading organic growth with wide-ranging partnerships and minority equity investments in other airlines around the world.”

Etihad Airways carried a total of 14.8 million passengers in 2014, an increase of 22.3 per cent year-on-year.

Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPKs) – measuring passenger journeys – increased by 23.6 per cent to 68.6 billion (55.5 billion), while Available Seat Kilometres (ASKs) – representing capacity – grew by 21.8 per cent to 86.6 billion (71.1 billion).

The growth in passenger demand and revenue over the 12-month period continued to outstrip Etihad Airways’ capacity increase, highlighting the strength of its long-term growth strategy.

Passenger numbers were strengthened by the continued enhancement of Etihad Airways’ global network last year.

A key driver of Etihad Airways’ growth in 2014 was its partnership strategy, based on wide-ranging codeshares and its unique approach of minority equity investments in strategically important airlines.

This has accelerated network growth, giving Etihad Airways the largest route network of any Middle Eastern carrier, reaching more than 500 destinations. It has boosted sales and marketing opportunities in key markets, as well as allowing significant business synergies and cost savings.

This strategy delivered revenues of US$1.1 billion in 2014, an increase of 37.7 per cent (US$820 million), and represented 24 per cent of Etihad Airways’ total passenger revenues.

A further measure of Etihad Airways’ growth was the increased membership of the Etihad Guest loyalty program. Etihad Airways’ cargo division also delivered a standout performance in 2014, becoming a billion dollar company one year ahead of schedule.

Cargo revenues were up 19.2 per cent to US$1.1 billion, with freight and mail volumes rising from 487,000 to 569,000 tonnes.

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