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Etihad predicts ‘remarkable’ year after profitable 2023 

Etihad CEO Antonoaldo Neves, centre. The internal memo followed a presentation by Neves Reuters/Regis Duvignau
Etihad CEO Antonoaldo Neves, centre.
  • Revenues at $5.5bn, says staff memo 
  • Plan to reactivate 3 more A380s 
  • Previous results hit by pandemic

Etihad Airways has told staff that it made a profit last year, helped by “milestone” revenues of $5.5 billion, and is expecting a “remarkable” performance in 2024, AGBI has learned. 

In an internal memo sent on January 25, which followed a presentation by chief executive Antonoaldo Neves, the company predicted that revenues would reach $6.5 billion this year “if all goes to plan”. 

The UAE’s national carrier “achieved profitability” in 2023, the memo said, without mentioning a figure. 

AGBI has contacted Etihad for comment.

The memo also said the company intends to add 2,000 staff and 14 aircraft in 2024. “Following careful consideration”, it will reactivate three more of its grounded A380 super-jumbos – one this year and two in 2025. This will increase the number in service to seven.  

Etihad had stopped flying A380s in 2021 because of their high operating costs. Many other airlines have also curtailed their use. 

“As we set our sights on 2024, we are sure it will be remarkable,” the memo said. “There will be bumps in the road, but we are agile and in a great position to adapt.”

Etihad did not publicly announce any financial results in 2023. Its last available figures were published in July 2022, when former chief executive Tony Douglas revealed a “record-breaking” core operating profit of $296 million for the first half of the year.

The company had previously announced revenues of $5 billion in both 2017 and 2018, before a steep decline caused by a company-wide restructuring and the Covid pandemic. 

Neves, who was appointed to succeed Douglas in October 2022, has forecast that Etihad will return to “peak 2017 passenger numbers” of 18.6 million by late 2024 or early 2025.

The staff memo also said Etihad had achieved a 12 percent year-on-year reduction in operating costs per available seat kilometre (ASK), excluding fuel, in 2023. 

ASK is a measure of airline productivity that multiplies the number of seats deployed by total distance flown. Etihad’s total number of ASKs grew 29 percent as it added 15 destinations.

Etihad increased its fleet by 16 to around 80 passenger aircraft in 2023. 

The memo said passenger numbers rose to 14 million “a 40 percent increase on 2022 passenger numbers and above the forecast 13 million. Notably, inbound passengers to Abu Dhabi rose 30 percent to over 1 million.”

With the global aviation industry hit by staff shortages, Etihad said it had done a “phenomenal” job of hiring more than 2,300 employees and promoting 800 in 2023. 

In future years, “the leadership team will “review and identify opportunities to make salary adjustments in one annual cycle”  between February and March, the memo added. 

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