Etihad Airways remained in the red last year despite cutting its losses.

The Abu Dhabi-based airline reported a loss of $1.28 billion for the year, an improvement on the 2017 loss of $1.52 billion.

This came as capacity was trimmed by 4% as the fleet was reduced by nine aircraft to 106 and passenger carryings fell to 17.8 million from 18.6 million the previous year.

A number of unprofitable routes were dropped including Tehran, Jaipur, Entebbe, Dallas/Fort Worth, Ho Chi Minh City, Dhaka, Dar es Salaam, Edinburgh and Perth.

Yields by 4%, largely driven by capacity discipline, network and fleet optimisation and growing market share in premium and point-to-point markets, the airline reported.

Passenger revenues remained steady at $5 billion.

Direct operating costs were reduced by $226 million or 3.6% despite ongoing fuel price volatility.

Administration and general expenses declined by 19% or $190 million, mainly driven by lower indirect manpower and other costs.

Etihad Aviation Group chief executive Tony Douglas said: “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.”

He added: “Etihad remains a strong global aviation brand and a true representative of Abu Dhabi around the world.

“We are committed to developing commercially beneficial partnerships at home and overseas, creating a multicultural workplace which is an exemplar of inclusion, gender equality and innovation.

At only 15 years old, Etihad is maturing as an acclaimed international airline, seizing opportunities and heading into the future as a pioneering leader.

“We will continue to offer superior services to every traveller while growing our global footprint, embracing technology, boosting revenues, and driving efficiencies and commercial excellence across the entire organisation.

“The benefits of these actions will be enjoyed by our customers and our people.”

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