Etihad reports record results in 2011

United Arab Emirates national carrier Etihad Airways today reported full year profit of $137 million on revenues up 36% to $4.1 billion over 2010.

The figures included earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and rentals (EBITDAR) of $648 million, with a net profit of $14 million.

The record result exceeded the airline’s 2011 target to break even as passenger numbers rose by 17% to 8.3 million.

President and chief executive James Hogan said: “Five years ago we said we would be profitable by 2011. Despite the global financial crisis, continued high oil prices, regional instability and natural disasters, we have delivered.

“The mandate from our shareholder was to create an airline that is best in class, operates to the highest safety standards, and makes money – and we have achieved this mandate.

“Everything we said we would do, we have done. Now, we move into the next phase of our development whereby we deliver consistent, sustainable profitability.”

He added: “Given the challenges faced by the industry, our combination of revenue growth and entry into profitability must be one of the best results of any airline in 2011.

“And we will aim for strong growth again in 2012, in spite of the tough global economic environment, with a passenger-traffic target of 10 million and a corresponding increase in profits.”

Etihad’s partnership strategy intensified in the year as it took its first equity stake in airberlin in December.

“This was a game-changing move for Etihad Airways, adding 157 destinations and giving us access to 35 million new passengers,” said Hogan.

“The airberlin deal will be our most important catalyst for growth in 2012. It has given us instant access to Europe’s largest travel market, and will have a major impact on revenues in 2012, with an expected contribution of up to $50 million.

“And of course, 2011 marked the first full year of Etihad Airways’ strategic partnership with Virgin Australia, which offers 45 destinations in Australia and the Pacific, and boosted revenue by 700% over what we achieved with our previous Australian airline partner.”

Hogan said: “We will continue to look at opportunities in 2012. Already this year we have announced a second equity investment, in Air Seychelles, which is an important step towards growing our operations in the increasingly popular leisure markets of the Indian Ocean and Africa.”

The airline is to add seven aircraft this year and plans to extend its network in Asia and Africa. It has orders for 100 new aircraft plus options on another 105.

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