Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways posts $476m loss for 2021
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Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways posts $476m loss for 2021

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways posts $476m loss for 2021

The airline carried 3.5 million passengers in 2021

Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad Airways announced an operating loss of $476m for the fiscal year 2021, representing a 72 per cent improvement on the $1.7bn loss reported in 2020 and a 41 per cent improvement on $802m loss in 2019.

The carrier posted passenger revenues of $1.07bn in 2021, down by 14 per cent year-on-year. Cargo operations noted a 27 per cent year-on-year increase in freight volumes carried last year (729,200 tonnes) as well as a rise in cargo revenues of 49 per cent to $1.73bn.

The airline’s EBITDA turned to positive $408m from a negative $61m in 2020. It carried 3.5 million passengers in 2021, with an average seat load factor of 39.6 per cent. Passenger loads doubled in the second half of the year, reaching 70.1 per cent in December as travel demand picked up during the winter holiday period.

Network capacity came in at 37.21 billion ASKs (available seat kilometers) for the year, with the airline connecting Abu Dhabi to 71 passenger and cargo destinations across 47 countries. The airline launched or restarted operations to 13 destinations in 2021.

Tony Douglas, group chief executive officer, said: “In another year of global uncertainty, Etihad Airways has continued to move forward, strengthen its business, and build on its world-class travel proposition. Despite the slowdown caused by Omicron, we are confident that the spring and summer season will continue to see a resurgence in travel as more people return to the skies. With one of the most fuel-efficient fleets in the world and with sustainability at the very top of our agenda, we will continue to pave the way for more sustainable flying in 2022 and beyond.”

“Despite Covid-19 suppressing global travel demand for a second year running, we have continued to transform Etihad Airways into a more efficient business, delivering additional line-by-line savings and further optimising our cost base,” added Adam Boukadida, chief financial officer. “Pushing the frontiers of sustainable financing, we issued the first-ever sustainability-linked ESG loan in aviation, while at the same time reducing our outstanding debt by more than 20 per cent. All these factors combined resulted in a strong year-end liquidity position, aligned to our pre-pandemic levels, and in a steadfast ‘A with a stable outlook’ credit rating reaffirmed by Fitch.”

Read: Etihad raises $1.2bn in aviation’s first sustainability-linked ESG loan

Etihad Airways launched a new Home check In facility, allowing customers to check in their bags, choose their seats and collect their boarding passes and luggage tags from their home. In 2021, Etihad Airways became the first airline in the world with 100 per cent of operating onboard crew vaccinated to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. At the end of 2021, the total workforce stood at 12,533 employees.

Read: UAE’s Etihad becomes world’s first airline to vaccinate entire flying crew

Etihad Airways is a founding member of the Hope Consortium, an Abu Dhabi coalition formed to create a supply chain solution to distribute Covid-19 vaccines worldwide, which has to date handled more than 250 million vaccine doses to over 40 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and South America.

Read: Abu Dhabi’s Hope Consortium to facilitate worldwide distribution of Covid-19 vaccine

Etihad Airways also achieved a 5.6 per cent reduction in the emissions intensity of its passenger fleet in 2021.

Read: Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways launches region’s first aircraft carbon offset programme

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