Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways posts $758 million in half-year losses

By: |
August 6, 2020 6:39 PM

The airline, which competes with nearby Dubai's Emirates and Qatar Airways, said it carried 3.5 million passengers during the first six months of 2020, nearly 60 per cent less than the same period last year.

Revenue for the first half of 2020 stood at USD 1.7 billion compared to USD 2.7 billion during the first six months of 2019.

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways said Thursday core operating losses amounted to USD 758 million for the first half of the year, driven by a nearly 40 per cent drop in revenue due in part to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Etihad is one of the Middle East’s top carriers, but it was wracked by financial losses even before the pandemic devastated the aviation industry worldwide. The United Arab Emirates-based airline had accumulated losses of USD 586 million in the first half of 2019.

The airline, which competes with nearby Dubai’s Emirates and Qatar Airways, said it carried 3.5 million passengers during the first six months of 2020, nearly 60 per cent less than the same period last year. Like other major carriers, Etihad cut salaries for staff starting in April and had reportedly laid off an unspecified number of employees to reduce costs.

Revenue for the first half of 2020 stood at USD 1.7 billion compared to USD 2.7 billion during the first six months of 2019, even with this year’s 27 per cent reduction in operating costs. The airline’s cargo operations also saw some improvement during the first quarter this year.

Etihad Airways said it had started the year strong and ahead of the target prior to the pandemic, but that the closure of international borders and the UAE’s airports starting in March drove second quarter losses.  Etihad said 70 per cent of its fleet was grounded during the second quarter of the year, bringing a nearly complete halt to its passenger numbers with the exception of special repatriation flights. Since 2016, Etihad has lost more than USD 4.75 billion as its strategy of aggressively buying stakes in airlines from Europe to Australia exposed the company to major risks.

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