Home Travel & Hospitality Etihad Airways adds 15 new destinations, carries 14 million passengers

Etihad Airways adds 15 new destinations, carries 14 million passengers

by Staff Reporter
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Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways on Wednesday announced its results for the full year 2023, recording Dhs1.4 billion (US$394 million) operating result, driven by Dhs4 billion (US$ 1.1 billion) year-on-year growth in passenger revenue, while decreasing unit cost excel fuel by seven per cent, marking a significant improvement in passenger business profitability.

14 million passengers, 15 new destinations

The airline carried 14 million passengers last year, up 40 per cent from the year before, underlining continued robust demand for travel across its growing network, with an overall load factor of 86 per cent, compared to 82 per cent in 2022. Total revenue reached Dhs20.3 billion (US$5.5 billion) in the year ended 31 December 2023, compared to Dhs18.3 billion (US$5.0 billion) in 2022.

Through 2023, the airline launched 15 new destinations, including Lisbon, Copenhagen, Kolkata and Osaka, and grew its operating fleet by 14 aircraft, to support 30 per cent growth in Available Seat Kilometres (ASKs).

The airline also successfully strengthened its balance sheet by reducing net leverage to 2.5x net debt to EBITDA, from 5.0x in 2022, off the back of strong cash-flow generation and controlled CAPEX, supported by improving aircraft utilisation and re-activating previously parked aircraft.

Etihad’s strong performance in 2023 follows a successful reorganisation of its business, sharpening its focus on the core airline offering by divesting from ancillary support services and businesses; restructuring the fleet to focus on the most efficient and advanced aircraft; streamlining and rationalising its destination network; and increasing focus on productivity and cost savings.

Etihad Airways fleet

Etihad’s passenger widebody fleet comprised 78 per cent new generation aircraft, one of the highest ratios in the industry, underscoring its dedication to operational efficiency and contributing significantly to its reduced emission targets.

Etihad Airways results

Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of Etihad Aviation Group, said: “A sincere thank you to our customers, as well as the Etihad family for giving flight to our ambition, and delivering the reliable, best-in-class service that is the hallmark of our operation. The team has continued to make our airline stronger and more efficient, while delivering extraordinary customer experiences.

“I am confident we will continue to build on this solid foundation as we grow our network, enhance our offering and connect even more people with Abu Dhabi as we support and promote the Emirate’s tourism ambitions, delivering our vision to be the airline that everyone wants to fly.”

Positive customer sentiment

The airline also saw an impressive rise in positive customer sentiment across 2023, buoyed by the opening of its new home, Abu Dhabi Zayed International Airport, at the end of the year.

Antonoaldo Neves, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “Following our strong performance in 2023, in which we achieved Dhs1.4 billion (US$394 million) operating result and a net profit of Dhs525 million (US$143 million), our task at hand is to further strengthen our business as we continue our growth strategy and pursue further margin expansion opportunities.

“The execution capability of the Etihad team is outstanding, and it’s thanks to their relentless hard work that we have been able to achieve these results. I am confident we have the best team in the world. This accomplishment underscores our commitment to sustainable, profitable growth, robust cost control and operational efficiency.

“Looking forward, we will continue to deliver on the mandate of our shareholder, which is to be a financially viable airline delivering extraordinary customer experiences.”

Key 2023 highlights a glance:

  • Total Revenue Growth: total revenue saw a significant increase, reaching Dhs20.3 billion (US$ 5.5 billion) — an 11 per cent uplift from the previous year
  • Passenger revenue: passenger revenue grew Dhs 4 billion (US$1.1 billion), reaching Dhs16.7 billion (US$ 4.5 billion)
  • Cargo revenue: following the exceptional yield registered in 2022 due to Covid, Cargo revenue was Dhs3.4 billion (US$914 million) in 2023, – 38 per cent on 2022, mirroring the overall cooling in global cargo rates.
  • Cost of operations: both Cost per Available Seat Kilometre (CASK) and CASK excl. fuel decreased by 8 per cent and 7 per cent year-on-year, respectively
  • Operating result and net profit: Etihad realised an operating result of Dhs1.4 billion (US$ 394 million) and a net profit of Dhs525 million (US$ 143 million), underscoring a strong financial performance and effective operational strategy over the year
  • Balance sheet: significant reduction in net leverage, reaching 2.5x (net debt to EBITDA) from 5.0x in 2022
  • Passenger numbers surge: Etihad experienced remarkable growth in passenger numbers, with a total of 14 million passengers, marking a substantial 40 per cent increase
  • Passenger load factor: Etihad’s passenger load factor stood at 86 per cent, up from 82 per cent in 2022, among the highest among competitors, demonstrating the airline’s ability to optimise fleet usage and route planning
  • Network expansion: Etihad’s network expanded to 72 destinations, showcasing its commitment to increasing accessibility and connectivity for its Abu Dhabi hub and customers, while also exploring new markets and opportunities for growth.

tanvir@dubainewsweek.com

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