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Etihad Airways reports US$1.87 billion net loss

etihad a330 200Etihad Airways announced its 2016 financial results, recording a net loss of US$ 1.87 billion on US$ 8.36 billion in revenues as one-off impairment charges and fuel hedging losses weighed against a solid performance of the core airline. 

The core airline business achieved steady passenger revenues of US$ 4.9 billion and 79% load factors while carrying a record 18.5 million passengers. Available seat kilometers (ASKs) increased by 9% to 113.9 billion. Yields fell 8% amid market capacity pressures and the tough global economic climate, but this was partially offset by an 11% reduction in unit costs.

Total impairments of US$ 1.9 billion included a US$ 1.06 billion charge on aircraft, reflecting lower market values and the early phase out of certain aircraft types. There was also a US$ 808 million charge on certain assets and financial exposures to equity partners, mainly related to Alitalia and airberlin. 

Legacy fuel hedging contracts also had a negative bearing on performance in 2016, though this exposure is expected to have less of a financial impact during 2017. 

A slowdown in the cargo market put increased pressure on cargo revenues and yields, and the airline saw a slight improvement in freight carried at 595,519 tonnes for the 12-month period.

Peter Baumgartner, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “We are in an industry characterized by overcapacity, declining market sizes on key routes, and changing customer behavior as a weak global economy affects spending appetite.

“Our answer to these challenges is innovation and reinvention, and this gives Etihad Airways a competitive edge as we seek to leverage opportunities offered to us by a changing environment.

“Operationally, we performed well in 2016. We maintained load factor levels even as we increased capacity. Yields were under pressure in all cabins, with Business Class impacted particularly as corporate travel policies continued to encourage flyers to downgrade to Economy.

“Our fuel hedging positions, which helped manage fuel spend during the oil price boom, yet significantly impacted our cost base last year, will taper during 2017. We are also seeing promising improvements in the contribution made by our ancillary revenue strategies, and we expect those to offset some of the yield declines.”

2016 PERFORMANCE INDICATORS OF ETIHAD AIRWAYS:

Key Indicators 2016 2015
Passenger Revenue (US$ billion) 4.9 4.9
Cargo Revenue (US$ billion) 0.9 1.0
Total Revenue (US$ billion) 8.36 9.0
Net (loss)/profit (US$ million) (1,873) 103
Total passengers (million) 18.5 17.6
Revenue passenger kilometres (billion) 89.5 83.2
Available seat kilometres (billion) 113.9 104.8
Seat factor 78.6% 79.4%
Number of aircraft 119 121
Cargo tonnage (tonnes ‘000) 596 591