Etihad Airway has reported double-digit growth in passenger and cargo volumes during the first half of 2014, marking its strongest ever performance for the six-month period, with total revenues increasing to US$3.2 billion.
A total of 6.7 million passengers travelled with the airline between January and June this year, almost 22 per cent higher than the 5.5 million passengers in the same period last year.
Etihad Cargo also outperformed the global market, carrying 268,713 tonnes of freight and mail during the first half of 2014, up 25 per cent year-on-year, and contributing significantly to the airline’s total revenue.
It remains on track to become a billion dollar business in 2014.
The impressive performance was supported by Etihad Airways’ continued growth in the second quarter of 2014, with 3.5 million passengers and 140,892 tonnes of freight and mail carried over the three-month period, both up 25 per cent on the same period last year.
Etihad president James Hogan said: “At a time when the global airline industry has struggled with high fuel prices, intense competition and a slowdown in the cargo market, Etihad Airways has achieved record success, carrying more passengers and cargo to more destinations around the world, with our biggest fleet to date.
“We have ambitious plans to build on this momentum in the second half of 2014, with five more destinations being introduced into our global network, and our ground-breaking Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 also entering service, which will reinforce our status as a global market leader.”
Passenger and cargo volumes were boosted by the fast-paced growth of Etihad Airways’ global route network, with 98 destinations operational by the end of the first half of 2014, compared to 92 in the same period last year.
Following the launch of Medina flights in the first quarter of 2014, the second quarter included the start of new services to Jaipur, Zurich and Los Angeles, while frequencies increased on five existing routes, including Moscow and Cochin.
The airline’s network will increase to 103 destinations by the end of the year, with Yerevan flights launched this month and Rome, Perth, Phuket and Dallas to follow over the remainder of 2014.
Organic growth was supported by codeshare and equity alliance partnerships in the first half of 2014, delivering an estimated 1.4 million passengers onto Etihad Airways flights (up 28 per cent year-on-year) and contributing revenue of US$471 million, which represented 23 per cent of the airline’s passenger revenue.
In the second quarter alone, a new codeshare agreement was signed with GOL and existing codeshares were expanded with partners such as Jet Airways, airberlin, Air Serbia, Air France and South African Airways, while 754,050 passengers were delivered onto Etihad Airways flights (up 32 per cent year-on-year), contributing revenue of US$247 million.
Etihad Airways’ passenger carrying capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometres, was 39.4 billion by the end of half one 2014, an increase of 19 per cent year-on-year.
The airline’s fleet also expanded to 102 aircraft, with seven aircraft delivered in the second quarter alone.
An additional six aircraft will be received in the second half of 2014, including Etihad Airways’ first Airbus A380 and Boeing 787, which commence operations in December and will feature brand new first, business and economy class products.
The A380 will also include The Residence by Etihad, the world’s first three-room private cabin, boasting a living room, separate double bedroom and ensuite shower, together with a personal butler service.
Etihad Airways’ workforce grew to 20,149 employees by the end of the first half, up 28 per cent year-on-year.
Within the core airline, 1,628 employees are UAE nationals, 19 per cent more than the same period in 2013, and Emiratis are the number one nationality group at manager level.
Last month, Etihad Airways - recognised as the World’s Leading Airline by World Travel Awards - welcomed the latest group of graduates from its innovative development program to join divisions across the airline as pilots, managers, contact centre staff and technical engineers.