Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, reported net profit of US$42 mln in 2012, up 200% on 2011 ($14 mln) in a year which saw strong improvements in revenues, passengers numbers and cost control.
Revenue increased 17% to $4.8 bln (2011: $4.1 bln), on passenger numbers up 23% to 10.3 mln (2011: 8.4 mln). These numbers were boosted significantly by Etihad's equity partnerships and codeshares, which delivered more than $600 mln in total revenue.
“This has been a game-changing year for Etihad Airways. We have delivered improved net profit, the second consecutive year we have been in the black, a remarkable achievement given the youth, ambitious growth and ongoing investment made by this airline in a challenging global economic environment,” said James Hogan, President and CEO of Etihad Airways.
“We have taken great strides in building the industry's first 'equity alliance', with our investments in airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia and Aer Lingus, which are contributing significant value to our business. And we have met our mandate of contributing to the economic development of Abu Dhabi, growing its aviation sector and building trade and tourism connections across the globe.”
Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose 24% to $170 mln (2011: $137 mln), while EBITDAR (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and rentals) rose to $753 mln (2011: $648 mln), a margin of 16% on total revenue.
Since Hogan joined Etihad as President and CEO in 2006, the airline has grown from a $750 mln business to one which now turns over nearly $5 bln a year.
He said Etihad attracted further support from the global financial community in 2012. More than 50 institutions have now provided more than $6.8 bln in cumulative funding for the airline’s ongoing expansion. “Our bankers understand and trust our business, our vision and our potential,” he said.
During the year, growth in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) outpaced growth in available seat kilometres (ASKs) for the fourth year running. RPKs were up 23% to 48 bln (2011: 39 bln), on ASKs up 20% to 61 bln (2011: 51 bln), resulting in an impressive lift in seat factor of 2.4 points to 78.2% (2011: 75.8%).
Equity and codeshare partners delivered more than 1.2 mln passengers onto the Etihad network. airberlin, in which Etihad Airways holds a 29.21% stake, made a strong contribution, with more than 300,000 passengers shared between their networks, delivering more than $130 mln in total to the two airlines.
Despite the increase in global oil prices during 2012, Etihad minimised the impact through its rigorous fuel hedging policy. The airline hedged 80% of fuel costs during the year, the same level as in 2011.
Careful cost management in all other areas of the business saw non-fuel costs per available seat kilometre (CASK) reduced by 5%. Etihad Airways' costs were benchmarked as being in the lowest quartile against other major, full-service airlines by independent analysts, Seabury.
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