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Etihad Reports Large Loss for 2018

The Abu Dhabi-based carrier is in the midst of a five-year program to cut costs and become profitable

Photo: Courtesy of Etihad

Etihad Airways has reported a loss of $1.28 billion for its core airline operations in 2018.

The figure, however, marked a slight improvement on the loss of $1.52 billion the airline reported for 2017.

The airline carried a total of 17.8 million passengers in 2018, down from 18.6 million in 2017, and load factors also decreased from 78.5 per cent to 76.4 per cent.

Etihad carried 17.8 million passengers in 2018, down from 18.6 million in 2017, with a 76.4 per cent load factor.

Since launching its five-year transformation campaign in 2017, the airline has improved its core operating performance by 34 per cent despite challenging market conditions and increases in fuel prices.

Tony Douglas, group chief executive of Etihad Aviation Group, said in a statement last week: “In 2018, we continued to forge ahead with our transformation journey by streamlining our cost base, improving our cash-flow and strengthening our balance sheet. Our transformation is instilling a renewed sense of confidence in our customers, our partners and our people. As a major enabler of commerce and tourism to and from Abu Dhabi, we are intrinsically linked to the continued success of the emirate.”

The airline increased by 4 per cent, driven by capacity discipline, network and fleet optimization, and growing market share in premium and point-to-point markets. Passenger revenues remained steady at US$5 billion.

Direct operating costs were reduced by 3.6 per cent and operating costs declined by $190 million (19 per cent), mainly driven by lowering manpower expenses.

Etihad is in the midst of a five-year correction which has included the removal of premium chauffeur drive services at international destinations, the introduction of buy-on-board choices, the launch of a new Economy Space seating option, and the outsourcing of selected lounges to No1 Lounges.

During 2018, Etihad Airways took delivery of eight new aircraft including three Boeing 787-9s, four Boeing 787-10s and one Boeing 777-200 freighter.

The carrier also eliminated number of unprofitable routes, including Tehran, Jaipur, Entebbe, Dallas Fort Worth, Ho Chi Minh City, Dhaka, Dar es Salaam, Edinburgh and Perth.