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Etihad Airways A380 (photo: © Thorbjørn Brunander Sund, danishaviationphoto.com)

Etihad ‘improvement’ to $1.3bn loss

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad reports its third consecutive year of losses despite shedding jobs, selling aircraft and cancelling orders.

Despite slashing costs by almost half a billion dollars by downsizing its fleet and routes and sacking staff, Etihad Airways has posted its third consecutive full-year loss.

The $1.28 billion loss in 2018 is smaller than the $1.52 billion hit it took in 2017, which means it has made losses totalling $4.75 billion in just three years.

The state-owned Abu Dhabi-based carrier blamed challenging market conditions including higher fuel prices.

Revenue fell by nearly 4% to $5.86 billion, while cutting costs by $416 million and sacking 5% of its workforce, which currently stands at 21,855 employees.

Etihad has cut back on its ambitions to be a major intercontinental airline, focusing instead on point-to-point flights, the Reuters news agency reports.

“In 2018, we continued to forge ahead with our transformation journey by streamlining our cost base, improving our cash flow and strengthening our balance sheet,” Tony Douglas, who started as chief executive in January 2018, said about the airline’s five-year turnaround strategy launched in 2017.

The airline also launched a sweeping reorganization of its business structure in 2018.

Order cancellations
Passenger numbers declined by 4.3% to 17.8 million and the number of aircraft in Etihad’s fleet was reduced by nine planes. Aircraft orders worth billions of dollars have been cancelled. Load factor for the year stood at 76.4%.

Douglas said that since starting the transformation programme the carrier has improved its core operating performance by 34% despite the challenging market conditions.

“Our transformation is instilling a renewed sense of confidence in our customers, our partners and our people,” he claimed.

“As a major enabler of commerce and tourism to and from Abu Dhabi, we are intrinsically linked to the continued success of the emirate.”

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