Etihad Airways Accelerates Plans to Mitigate Impact of Pandemic
Etihad Airways is continuing to target a complete turnaround by 2023, having accelerated its transformation plans and restructured the organisation during the pandemic into a leaner and more agile business.
Prior to the pandemic, Etihad was ahead of transformation targets set in 2017, having registered a 55% cumulative improvement in core results by end-of-year 2019.
This momentum continued into the start of 2020, with a record first quarter (Q1) that showed year-on-year improvement of 34%.
For the year Etihad Airways saw a 76% fall in passengers carried throughout the year (4.2 million, compared to 17.5 million in 2019) as a result of lower demand and reduced flight capacity.
Etihad Cargo's operations, on the contrary, recorded an extremely strong performance, with a 66% increase in revenue from $0.7 billion in 2019 to $1.2 billion in 2020, driven by huge demand for medical supplies such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and pharmaceuticals, paired with limited global airfreight capacity.
Cargo yield also saw an improvement of 77%.
Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, said: “Covid shook the very foundation of the aviation industry, but thanks to our dedicated people and the support of our shareholder, Etihad stood firm and is ready to play a key role as the world returns to flying.
"While nobody could have predicted how 2020 would unfold, our focus on optimising core business fundamentals over the past three years put Etihad in good stead to respond decisively to the global crisis.
"We have taken bold action to protect our people and our guests, develop an industry-leading health and hygiene programme, and restructure our business to better position us for recovery.
"As the world’s first airline to vaccinate all our operating pilots and cabin crew against Covid, we are ready to welcome back travellers to experience best-in-class travel with Etihad Airways.”
Operating costs meanwhile decreased by 39% year-on-year, from $5.4 billion in 2019 to $3.3 billion in 2020, due to a combination of reduced capacity and volume-related expenses, as well as a focus on cost containment initiatives.
Chief Financial Officer Adam Boukadida said: “We started the year on a firm footing by surpassing our transformation targets for Q1 and were looking forward to a strong performance for the year ahead – and then the pandemic took hold.
"As passenger revenues nosedived, we took immediate action to secure Etihad’s long-term financial health, with a wide range of measures to mitigate the impact of Covid on our business."