Fast-growing Gulf carrier Etihad Airways says its strategy of partnering with and buying stakes in overseas airlines helped boost its quarterly sales.
The Abu Dhabi-based airline said on Wednesday it generated revenue of $1.25 billion in the second quarter, up from $957 million during the same period a year earlier.
Passenger numbers during the quarter jumped 34 per cent to 2.6 million as the carrier filled a bigger share of seats onboard its planes.
CEO James Hogan says the gains show its partnerships with other carriers are working, because the links allow them to feed additional passengers through Etihad's network. Etihad in recent months has bought stakes in Aer Lingus, Virgin Australia, Air Berlin and Air Seychelles.
Etihad Airways’ available seat kilometres (ASKs) rose 25 per cent to 15.2 billion in Q2, as the fleet grew to 67 aircraft. Revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) rose 33 per cent to 11.8 billion.
The average seat factor was 4.6 percentage points higher in the quarter compared to the previous year, up to 77.6 per cent.
Etihad Cargo had another strong quarter, with tonnage up six per cent to 74,000 tonnes, contributing to revenues of $183 million, up 11 per cent. There was strong growth in particular in Germany, the UK and Bangladesh.
The airline continues to keep a tight focus on costs, with non-fuel costs per available seat kilometre (CASK) down one per cent.
Hogan added: "We are also encouraged by the performance of our equity partner airlines. Air Seychelles has made significant strides towards profitability in its own right and I am confident it will break even this year. Last month, airberlin, which is now our most important commercial partner, reported faster than expected progress of its shape & size program and a positive outlook for its financial performance. We are very pleased to see the projected revenue benefits and cost synergies for both Etihad Airways and our partners tracking in line with, or even above, plan which shows once more that our partnership strategy delivers value to all parties’ shareholders.”