Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad Airways announced that its revenues during the first quarter of this year surged 27 per cent to reach $1.4 billion.
The growth in the airline’s revenues was aided by an increase in passengers resulting from its codeshare and equity partnerships.
Etihad carried a total of 3.2 million passengers in Q1 2014, up 14 per cent from the corresponding period last year. The growth rate in passenger numbers was double the estimate by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the state-owned carrier said in a statement.
The airline’s revenue from codeshare and equity partnerships reached $223 million in Q1 2014, up 23 per cent from the same period last year. The number of partnerships rose 25 per cent during the period, delivering 678,000 passengers, the statement said.
Etihad signed codeshare agreements with Air Europa and JetBlue in the first quarter of this year while expanding its existing codeshare with Air Baltic.
The state-owned carrier also added more destinations in the first three months of 2014 including a daily service to Medina while increasing the number of flights on existing routes such as New York, Munich, Colombo, and Chengdu.
Etihad, which currently has 95 operational destinations, is expected to begin services to eight more cities in 2014 bringing its international route network to 103 by the end of the year.
Etihad Cargo also outperformed global markets as it carried 127,821 tonnes of freight and mail in Q1 2014, up 26 per cent from the previous year. Cargo revenues rose to reach $243 million in the same period, the statement said.
James Hogan, president and CEO of Etihad Airways, said: “Although the global airline industry has faced challenges such as higher-than-expected fuel prices and fierce competition in key international markets during the first quarter of 2014, we have continued to outperform the passenger and cargo markets.
“Our strong performance highlights the continued success of Etihad Airways’ strategic master plan, which focuses on the three fundamental pillars of organic network growth, codeshare partnerships and minority equity investments in other airlines around the world.”
Etihad also expanded its fleet size to 95 aircraft in Q1 2014, up 30 per cent from the corresponding period last year while its passenger carrying capacity rose 21 per cent.
The Abu Dhabi carrier also reported that its employee numbers surged 69 per cent year-on-year in Q1 2014.
Etihad has been building a network of minority stakes around the world as it aims to increase traffic to its Abu Dhabi hub. The airline currently has minority stakes in German carrier Air Berlin, India’s Jet Airways, Virgin Australia and Aer Lingus.
The Gulf carrier is also is in talks to buy a stake in the struggling Italian airline Alitalia.