Etihad Airways, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary of operations, has recorded its strongest ever passenger and cargo results for a first quarter.
The Abu Dhabi-based airline posted Q1 2013 passenger revenues of US$900 million (2012: US$758 million), an increase of 19 per cent; and cargo revenues of US$193 million (2012: US$165 million), an increase of 17 per cent.
Passenger numbers in Q1 2013 grew by 18 per cent, rising from 2.3 million to a record 2.8 million.
The average seat factor was 80.5 per cent, four percentage points higher than the previous year (2012: 76.5 per cent), despite a 12 per cent increase in capacity. The seat factor is above IATA’s current global average of 77.1 per cent.
Etihad Cargo also had its strongest first quarter, with tonnage up 20 per cent from 85,152 to 101,776 tonnes.
James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “Our Q1 2013 results have again outstripped global trends, with our strongest ever first quarter results for passenger revenue.
“This performance demonstrates that Etihad Airways’ strategy of organic growth, wide-ranging partnerships, and strategic equity investments is delivering for us and our partners,” he said.
Revenue from codeshare and equity partners jumped by 34 per cent from US$136 million to US$182 million in the first three months of the year and represented 20 per cent of total revenue in the quarter.
“As well as increasing top-line revenue, our equity partnerships will improve bottom-line results, through cost savings delivered by operational synergies,” Mr Hogan said.
Etihad Airways’ equity alliance comprises airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia, and Aer Lingus. Each airline announced profitable results during the first quarter of 2013, which demonstrates the success of this new alliance model for all the member airlines.
In February 2013, Etihad Airways announced a US$42 million profit for 2012 with revenues of US$4.8 billion and passenger numbers breaking 10 million for the first time.
Etihad Airways’ available seat kilometres (ASKs) rose 12 per cent in Q1 2013 to 15.9 billion, (2012: 14.3 billion) as the fleet grew to 73 passenger and cargo aircraft (2012: 66 aircraft). Revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) rose 17 per cent to 12.9 billion (2012: 10.9 billion) sharply out performing capacity growth.
Running counter to industry trends, Etihad Cargo posted new highs in the first quarter. Volumes were up 20 per cent (on capacity growth of 19 per cent). This was driven by a strong performance in North East Asia, combined with good growth from the Indian Subcontinent from mid-February.
The new twice-weekly freighter operation from Houston to Abu Dhabi enhanced the results.
Etihad Cargo also took delivery of a new Boeing 777 Freighter, which was deployed on European and African routes during the quarter. A second Boeing 747 freighter entered the fleet at the end of March, taking the total cargo fleet to eight aircraft.
Strong charter cargo results also underpinned the capability and flexibility of the freighter operation.