Etihad Airways delivered another year of sustained growth in 2016, helped by new aircraft, additional frequencies and the introduction of further world-class products, the airline said in a recent announcement. Etihad carried 18.5 million guests during the year, up six percent on 2015.
The airline was also part of the evolution of Etihad Aviation Group (EAG) in May 2016, a wider aviation and tourism business which now also includes Etihad Airways Engineering; Airline Equity Partners; Etihad Airport Services and Hala Group.
“2016 saw sustained growth in a very tough business environment… Most importantly, in 2016 we were able to introduce our new Group structure, which positions this business for long-term growth and development”, James Hogan, President and CEO of EAG, said.
During last year, Etihad Airways operated more than 109,000 scheduled passenger and cargo flights spanning around 446 million kilometres and 112 destinations. Capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASK), grew by nine percent and passenger traffic, measured by revenue passenger kilometres (RPK), rose by eight percent. The average load factor held steady at 79 percent.
Etihad Airways’ fleet of 119 aircraft is one of the youngest and most environmentally-friendly in the industry, with an average age of 6 years.
During 2016, the airline took delivery of 10 aircraft: three Airbus A380s, five Boeing 787s and two Boeing 777-200 cargo freighters. An additional 12 aircraft are set for delivery in 2017, including nine Boeing 787s, two Airbus A380s and one A330-200 freighter.
Etihad Airways launched Venice in Italy, Rabat in Morocco and Sabiha Gokcen in Turkey as new destinations in 2016. The much-admired Airbus A380 began serving Mumbai and Melbourne, and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was deployed on new routes, including Perth, Shanghai, Johannesburg and Dusseldorf. The airline added a fifth daily flight on the Doha route, an extra daily flight to Cairo and Kozhikode, and increased frequencies to Dammam, Manila and Tehran.
Etihad Airways carried more than 76 percent of the total passengers who travelled to and from Abu Dhabi International Airport in 2016.
The airline launched new codeshare agreements with Avianca Colombia, Avianca Brasil, Kulula, Precision Air and Montenegro Airlines, expanded existing codeshares and announced new interline agreements with Lufthansa, Pegasus, Malindo and LATAM. The airline now offers a combined passenger and cargo network of nearly 600 destinations through its 188 interline and 53 codeshare partnerships.
The airline’s codeshare and equity partnerships delivered 5.5 million passengers onto Etihad Airways’ flights, an increase of nine percent over the five million passengers in 2015.
Etihad Airways’ equity partner network, including airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, Jet Airways, Virgin Australia and Etihad Regional, represents the seventh largest global grouping of airlines. In 2016, the combined fleet of 705 aircraft carried 126.6 million guests.
During 2016, Etihad Cargo carried 592,700 tonnes, which was flat year-on-year.
According to EAG’s CEO, 2017 will be another challenging year. “We will continue to expand prudently and efficiently, reflecting the nature of the economic environment”, Hogan said, adding that the company remains optimistic and has every belief that its robust business model will succeed and, most importantly, stand the test of time.
The Etihad Aviation Group workforce, as of December 31, stood at 26,635 employees, representing 150 nationalities.