REVENUES at Etihad Airways soared by 31 per cent in the second quarter following a sharp increase in passenger numbers as the carrier expands its global network.
The Abu Dhabi-based airline, which recently built up a 3 per cent stake in Irish carrier Aer Lingus, said turnover rose to $1.25 billion (£800 million), up from $957m a year ago, while chief executive James Hogan said the outlook for the third quarter was strong.
Passenger numbers rose by 34 per cent to 2.55 million, boosted by its strategy of partnering with overseas airlines. Its load factor – a measure of how full its aircraft are – increased by 4.6 percentage points to 77.6 per cent.
State-owned Etihad launched its acquisition drive in December, when it took a stake of nearly 30 per cent in Air Berlin. Weeks later, it agreed to buy 40 per cent of Air Seychelles. It has since taken smaller stakes in Aer Lingus and in Virgin Australia.
Hogan declined to comment about specific plans to raise its stakes in any of its existing partners, but he did not rule out further acquisitions, adding: “We’re always looking, as long as it meets our criteria.”
Etihad is believed to be interested in buying the Irish government’s 25 per cent stake in Aer Lingus.
Budget airline Ryanair holds a further 30 per cent interest in Aer Lingus and last month launched an offer for the remaining 70 per cent, valuing the business at around £560m.
Ryanair yesterday said it carried 7.8 million passengers in June, a 6 per cent year-on-year increase, while its load factor remained steady at 84 per cent.
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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