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Etihad Airways Accelerates Transformation Plan To Mitigate $2.2b Loss

Etihad Airways has announced an AU$2.2 billion loss for the full year of 2020 but say they remain positive for the reset, with the industry-leading Etihad Wellness programme developed to safeguard travellers and 100% of operating flight crew now vaccinated.

Etihad Airways has announced an AU$2.2 billion loss for the full year of 2020 but say they remain positive for the reset, with the industry-leading Etihad Wellness programme developed to safeguard travellers and 100% of operating flight crew now vaccinated.

Etihad Airways has announced its financial and operating results for 2020, recording an AU$2.2 billion loss and 76% fall in passengers carried throughout the year as a result of lower demand and reduced flight capacity caused by the unparalleled global downturn in commercial aviation.

As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing flight and travel restrictions, total passenger capacity was reduced by 64% in 2020, with the seat load factor declining to 52.9%, 25.8 percentage points lower compared to 2019.

“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.”

Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer

The airline recorded AU$1.55 billion passenger revenues in 2020, down by 74% from AU$6.2 billion in 2019, due to fewer scheduled services and drastically fewer people travelling.

Meanwhile, the airline’s cargo operation, on the contrary, recorded an extremely strong performance, with a 66% increase in revenue, driven by the huge demand for medical supplies, paired with limited global airfreight capacity.

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.

The airline said that this momentum continued into the start of 2020, with a record first quarter (Q1) that showed year-on-year improvement of 34%.

Looking to the future

Etihad Airways

Etihad says it 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.

“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,” said Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer.

Etihad has retained an A with a ‘stable outlook’ credit rating by Fitch, making it one of a handful of airlines to maintain a pre-COVID rating.

READ: Digital Passport: Etihad Launches IATA Travel Pass App

Keeping passengers safe and confidence in air high

Etihad Vaccinated

In 2020, Etihad Airways launched its health and hygiene programme, named ‘Etihad Wellness’, which is championed by its specially trained Wellness Ambassadors, who provide essential travel health information and care so guests can fly with greater peace of mind.

In February, the airline also became the first in the world to have a 100% vaccinated crew on board.

To reinforce the effectiveness of Etihad Wellness, the airline is providing global COVID-19 insurance with every ticket, so passengers are covered when they are away from home.

As a further commitment to safety, Etihad is the only airline in the world to require 100% of passengers to show a negative PCR test result before departure and on arrival in Abu Dhabi. This safety measure was introduced in August 2020.

“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,” said Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer.