UAE’s Etihad Airways halves half-year loss to $400 mln

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways on Tuesday said its core operating losses halved in the first half of the year to $400 million and that its liquidity position had returned to pre-pandemic levels.

The state-owned carrier, which over the past year has accelerated a pre-pandemic restructuring, said it had cut operating costs by 27 percent to $1.4 billion in the first half.

That was helped by a nearly 40 percent reduction in the number of aircraft utilized with the airline having grounded aircraft, including its ten Airbus A380 superjumbos. It is also phasing out of its 19 Boeing 777-300s.

The airline, which had 64 aircraft in operation in the first half, carried 1 million passengers, down 71.5 percent from a year ago. The average number of seats filled fell to 24.9 percent, from 71 percent.

Operating revenue shrank 29.5 percent to $1.2 billion, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization swung to $100 million from a $100 million loss the year before.

Etihad has operated under tougher restrictions than some other United Arab Emirates carriers since the country lifted a months-long ban on most international travel in the second half of 2020.

Abu Dhabi, the largest emirate and capital of the UAE, currently requires most international arrivals to quarantine for several days while only those from select destinations are exempt.

In neighboring Dubai, where airline Emirates is based, most international arrivals are required to present a negative coronavirus polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test without having to quarantine.

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