Etihad records strongest ever first quarter results

April 7, 2013 2:09 pm

The carrier, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in November, recorded passenger revenues of $900m in Q1 compared to $758m for the same period last year, an increase of 19%. The ailrine also posted cargo revenues of $193m for the first three months of 2013 compared to $165m for Q1 2012, an increase of 17%.

Passenger numbers in Q1 grew by 18%, rising from 2.3 million to a record 2.8 million, Etihad said.

The average seat factor was 80.5%, four percentage points higher than the previous year despite a 12% increase in capacity. Etihad said its cargo unit also had its strongest first quarter, with tonnage up 20 percent from 85,152 to 101,776 tonnes.

“Our Q1 2013 results have again outstripped global trends, with our strongest ever first quarter results for passenger revenue,” said James Hogan, President and CEO of Etihad. “This performance demonstrates that Etihad Airways’ strategy of organic growth, wide-ranging partnerships, and strategic equity investments is delivering for us and our partners.”

Revenue from codeshare and equity partners jumped by 34% from $136m to $182m in the first three months of the year and represented 20% of total revenue in the quarter. Etihad’s equity alliance comprises airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia, and Aer Lingus.

The carrier’s record results in Q1 follow a strong year in 2012 when it posted a $42m profit with revenues of $4.8bn and passenger numbers breaking 10 million for the first time.

Saj Ahmad, the chief analyst at StrategicAero Research, believes Etihad has proven that its profitability last year was no fluke. “If there were ever any doubt that Etihad’s dual strategy of organic and inorganic growth was not yielding results, then these first quarter numbers demonstrate otherwise. An 18% rise in passengers, pushing load factors over 80% while delivering a 19% rise in passenger revenue shows to very good effect that Etihad is leveraging not just financial benefits through its stakes in other airlines, but that its continued expansion is indeed drawing in passengers to and through Abu Dhabi in very much the same way that Emirates is doing in Dubai.”

“It is equally evident from these results that Etihad’s management team have the acumen to make these code share and investment deals work. We have seen Air Seychelles and Air Berlin also post strong earnings and that their turnarounds would not have been forthcoming without Etihad’s guiding hand. Given the swathe of partnerships Etihad has, it is hard to argue that their strategy is in any way flawed,” Ahmad added.