Etihad Airways had its strongest ever cargo volumes for a first quarter.
Etihad Cargo carried 127,821 tonnes of freight and mail. This marks a year-over-year increase of 26 percent, almost seven times higher than the International Air Transport Association’s prediction that the international cargo market will grow by 4 percent in 2014.
The airline’s cargo revenue also increased by 26 percent to US$243 million (176 million euros).
“Although the global airline industry has faced challenges such as higher-than-expected fuel prices and fierce competition in key international markets during the first quarter of 2014, we have continued to outperform the passenger and cargo markets, and raise the bar even further for Etihad Airways,” James Hogan, president and CEO of Etihad Airways, said. “Our strong performance highlights the continued success of Etihad Airways’ strategic master plan, which focuses on the three fundamental pillars of organic network growth, codeshare partnerships and minority equity investments in other airlines around the world. This unique strategy, and the investments we have made in product, service and infrastructure, means that Etihad Airways is positioned strongly for topline growth and bottom-line delivery in 2014.”
Etihad Airways’ volumes were boosted by the growth of its route network, with 95 destinations operational by the end of the first quarter, an increase of six compared to the same period in 2013.
The airline will start services to eight more destinations over the remainder of 2014.
To accommodate the double-digit growth in passenger volumes, Etihad’s fleet expanded to 95 aircraft in the first quarter of 2014, marking an increase of 30 percent in the fleet size over the same period last year.
Cargo volumes were strengthened by the launch of a joint freighter service with DHL, serving Pakistan and the Gulf Cooperation Council markets out of Abu Dhabi.
At the close of the first quarter, Etihad Airways employed 18,543 people, an increase of 69 percent year over year. Part of this increase can be attributed to Etihad Airways’ acquisition of Abu Dhabi Airport Services, Abu Dhabi Cargo Company and Abu Dhabi In-Flight Catering in 2013.