Etihad Airways, which this year celebrates it’s 10th anniversary, has recorded its strongest ever passenger and cargo results for a first quarter. The Abu Dhabi-based airline posted Q1 2013 passenger revenues of $900m (2012: $758m), an increase of 19%; and cargo revenues of $193m (2012: $165m), increasing 17% over Q1 last year.
Passenger numbers in Q1 2013 grew by 18%, rising from 2.3 million to a record 2.8 million.
The average seat factor was 80.5%, four percentage points higher than the previous year (2012: 76.5%), despite a 12% increase in capacity. That seat factor is above IATA’s current global average of 77.1% for commercial airlines.
Etihad Cargo also had its strongest first quarter, with tonnage up 20% from 85,152 to 101,776 tonnes.
“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.” — James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways,
Revenue from codeshare and equity partners jumped by 34% from $136m to $182m in the first three months of the year and represented 20% 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.” — John Hogan
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 demonstrated the success of this new alliance model for all of the member airlines.
In February 2013, Etihad Airways announced a $42m profit for 2012 with revenues of $4.8bn and passenger numbers breaking 10 million for the first time.
Etihad Airways’ available seat kilometres (ASKs) rose 125 in Q1 2013 to 15.9 billion, (2012: 14.3 billion) as the fleet grew to a total of 73 passenger and cargo aircraft (2012: 66 aircraft). Revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) rose 17% to 12.9 billion (2012: 10.9 billion) sharply outperforming capacity growth.
Running counter to industry trends, Etihad Cargo posted new highs in the first quarter. Volumes were up 20% (on capacity growth of 19%). This was driven by a strong performance in Northeast Asia, combined with good growth from the Indian Subcontinent from mid-February.
The new twice-weekly freighter operation from Houston to Abu Dhabi enhanced 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.