Etihad profitable in 2012

Strategy to form alliances to push more passengers through hub paying off

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: In a sign that its strategy of striking alliances to push more passengers through its Abu Dhabi hub is paying off, the chief executive of Etihad Airways said the carrier was profitable in 2012. After turning a maiden profit in 2011 of $14 million (Dh51.3 million), the fast-growing airline which only began operations in 2003, will make a profit again in 2012, according to a statement carrying comments made by James Hogan in an industry speech in Dublin.

Etihad, which owns stakes in Air Berlin, Virgin Australia and Air Seychelles, and is in final stage talks to buy a slice of Jet Airways (India) Ltd, has more than $6.5 billion in funding from more than 50 lenders and has posted “double-digit passenger and revenue growth in recent years”, Hogan said.

As well as organic network and fleet growth, Etihad has pursued a unique strategy among its Gulf rivals, Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways, of buying minority equity stakes in carriers around the world, extending its reach and pulling more passengers into Abu Dhabi.

It enjoyed a 22 per cent rise in traffic to 10.29 million last year, as its alliance with Air Berlin funnelled 300,000 passengers onto the two airlines’ networks. The airline serves 86 cities worldwide with a fleet of 70 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and more than 90 aircraft on firm order.