Etihad Airways’s half-year cargo revenues offset a “dip” in passenger operations, as it continues to make a “progressive recovery” in the wake of the pandemic.
The group’s cargo division posted a 56% year-on-year increase in revenues to $800m.
This achievement was driven by a 44% year-on-year increase in freight carried in the first of the year – to 365,500 tonnes as the carrier “steadily” increased its network capacity since the start of this year.
It now operates around 3,500 flights a month to 67 cargo and passenger destinations.
Cargo demand, in general, has picked up this year as countries were in the midst of lockdown in the first half of 2020.
Etihad’s revenues would also have benefitted from an industry-wide increase in airfreight rates since the start of the year.
Passenger revenues in the first half of this year dipped 70% year on year to $300m.
Adam Boukadida, chief financial officer, commented: “While market demand has been slower to recover than anticipated, our record cargo performance has continued to buoy the business. At the same time, we have continued to strengthen underlying fundamentals to place Etihad in a better position to maximise the value of passenger revenue as our volumes return.
“Our rock-solid credit rating has remained unwavering throughout the pandemic and was once again reaffirmed at ‘A with a stable outlook’ by Fitch in April 2021, serving as a clear sign of the long-term financial viability of our business. While the pandemic still poses challenges, Etihad is on the path to becoming a sustainable and profitable business.”
Etihad currently operates 64 aircraft, including five freighters, after having taken the decision to indefinitely park part of its fleet in response to the pandemic.
The “backbone” of the Etihad fleet is the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with 39 B787-9 and B787-10s in the fleet.