x

Travel

Etihad Airways Reports $1.7 Billion Loss in 2020

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Abu Dhabi's national carrier Etihad on Thursday reported core operating losses of $1.7 billion in 2020, reflecting the severe toll of the coronavirus pandemic on the long-troubled airline that has lost billions in recent years. 

Etihad reported revenues of $2.7 billion in 2020 compared to $5.6 billion the year before, a precipitous decline it attributed to "drastically fewer people traveling" as the surging pandemic crippled air travel. 

But the airline, one of the Middle East's top carriers, struggled with financial losses long before the pandemic wiped out the global aviation industry. Since 2016, Etihad has lost a total of $5.62 billion as it has aggressively bought up stakes in airlines from Europe to Asia to compete against the region's other leading airlines, Dubai-based Emirates and Qatar Airways.

With cost-cutting measures, the company was just starting to recover from the economic pain early last year. It announced the sale of 38 aircraft to an investment firm in an attempt to bolster profits, in a deal valued at $1 billion.

Then, the pandemic struck. Last March, the United Arab Emirates halted flights to stem the spread of the virus. Passenger traffic plummeted to just 4.2 million travelers from 17.5 million the year before, the airline said. Total passenger capacity on planes dropped 64%. The carrier lost $758 million over the first half of 2020 alone. The losses rippled across the company, forcing the airline to cut 33% of its workforce and slash salaries by 25-50%. 

By comparison, Etihad lost $870 million in 2019. The airline reported losses of $1.28 billion in 2018 and $1.52 billion for 2017. 

While rollout of coronavirus vaccines has stoked hopes for a global return to travel, the industry is not expected to see meaningful recovery for months, until vaccines are widely administered. 

Still, Etihad CEO Tony Douglas struck an optimistic tone in the earnings announcement. 

"While nobody could have predicted how 2020 would unfold," he said, "Etihad stood firm and is ready to play a key role as the world returns to flying."

Abu Dhabi's rulers launched Etihad in 2003, rivaling the established Dubai government-owned carrier Emirates, which boasts a larger fleet and far-flung network. Emirates flies out of Dubai International Airport only 115 kilometers (70 miles) away from the capital of Abu Dhabi. The two airlines compete in the long-haul carrier market, using their nation's location as a key east-west transit point to their advantage.

RELATED

The renowned island of Crete has been called a ‘continent in itself’ and ‘another planet’ by people amazed by the amount, variety, and significance of its cultural – and natural – riches.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip — An Israeli airstrike killed 20 people in central Gaza, mostly women and children, and fighting raged across the north on Sunday as Israel's leaders aired divisions over who should govern Gaza after the war, now in its eighth month.

PARAMUS, NJ – There was a large turnout for the annual festival of the community of St.

DALLAS  — Former President Donald Trump urged gun owners to vote in the 2024 election as he addressed thousands of members of the National Rifle Association, which officially endorsed him just before Trump took the stage at their annual meeting in Texas on Saturday.

DALLAS  — A smiling Luka Doncic pumped his fist as he settled in next to Kyrie Irving to answer questions about the Dallas Mavericks advancing to the Western Conference finals for the second time in three seasons.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.