Etihad Airways announces strong first quarter
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has announced its strongest ever passenger and cargo volumes for a first quarter, together with US$1.4 billion in total revenues during the three-month period, marking a year-on-year increase of 27 per cent.
A total of 3.2 million passengers travelled with Etihad Airways during the first quarter of 2014, over 14 per cent higher than the 2.8 million passengers from the same period last year.
The growth rate is more than double a recent estimate from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that passenger demand will increase 5.8 per cent this year on a global basis.
Etihad Cargo also outperformed the global market, carrying 127,821 tonnes of freight and mail in the first quarter. This marks a year-on-year increase of 26 per cent, almost seven times higher than IATA’s prediction that the international cargo market will grow by four per cent in 2014.
The airline’s cargo revenue also increased by 26 per cent to US$243 million, placing Etihad Cargo on track to become a billion dollar business in 2014.
James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer 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, and raise the bar even further for Etihad Airways.
“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 Airways’ volumes were boosted by the fast-paced growth of its international route network, with 95 destinations operational by the end of Q1 2014, an increase of six compared to the same period in 2013.
Network highlights in the first quarter included the start of a daily service to Medina, Etihad Airways’ fourth destination in Saudi Arabia, while frequencies increased on six existing routes, including New York in the US, Munich in Germany, Colombo in Sri Lanka, and Chengdu in China.
The airline will commence services to eight more destinations over the remainder of 2014, increasing its global route network to 103 by the end of the year.