Abu-Dhabi-based Etihad Airways reported its largest net profit ever in 2015, a figure that jumped 41 percent, year-over-year, to US$103 million. Low oil prices and strong demand for cargo, passenger and other ancillary services helped elevate the carrier’s profitability last year. Cargo tonnage, in particular, grew by 4 percent to 591,000 tonnes.
Growth in cargo tonnage was assisted by the addition of bellyhold capacity, as well as new dedicated freighter routes. The airline said it added six new widebody passenger routes in 2015 and up-gauged several other routes. Etihad’s new freighter destinations include growing African hubs of Dakar, Nouakchott and Douala.
Moving forward, the carrier expects its 197 interline agreements to continue feeding cargo to its Abu-Dhabi hub, through which 88 percent of the carrier’s cargo currently moves. In 2015, Etihad formed a new codeshare and interline agreement with Pakistan International Airlines and expanded existing agreements with Air Serbia, American Airlines, flynas, Jet Airways, Korean Air, NIKI and S7 Airlines.
Etihad said it expects continued growth in its cargo operations as it continues to add new passenger routes with significant belly capacity. Currently, the airline’s fleet consists of 121 aircraft, with an additional 204 aircraft on firm order, including seventy-one 787s, twenty-five 777Xs, sixty-two A350s and ten A380s.