Etihad reduces losses, prepares for A350 start in Q2 2022

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Etihad Airways reduced its losses in 2021, helped by its best-ever year for cargo, and said it expects a resurgence in travel in spring and summer 2022.  

The Abu Dhabi-based carrier also revealed plans to start operating the Airbus A350 in the second quarter of 2022 as it unveiled financial results for 2021 on March 1, 2022.  

“Despite the slowdown caused by Omicron, we are confident that the spring and summer season will continue to see a resurgence in travel as more people return to the skies,” Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, commented.  

“We look forward to our guests being able to experience our state-of-the-art Airbus A350s when they debut later this year, taking pride of place alongside our Boeing 787s,” Douglas added.  

For 2021, Etihad reported a core operating loss of $476 million, compared with a loss of $1.7 billion in 2020.  The result for 2021 was better than in 2019, when it made a loss of $802 million.  

Etihad has been undergoing a transformation program under Douglas and in December announced plans to sell certain aviation support businesses to focus on its core airline operations.  

While its load factor – how full its planes are – averaged 40% for the whole of 2021, the airline said the loads doubled in the second half of the year, reaching a high of 70% in December.   

As with other airlines, Etihad enjoyed record cargo revenue for 2021. The airline carried 27% more freight in 2021 than the previous year and said revenues rose 49% to $1.73 billion, the highest ever for Etihad.  

Etihad’s fleet comprised 67 aircraft including five freighters at the end of 2021. 

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