Etihad Airways says its partnerships and codeshare arrangements with other airlines generated almost a quarter of the company’s passenger revenues in calendar 2014.
The Abu Dhabi-based carrier has reported its financial results for the 12 months to December 31 2014, posting double-digit increases in net profit, revenue, passenger numbers and capacity measured by available seat kilometres.
The airline said 2014 was the fourth straight year of net profit, which came in at US$73 million, up 52.1 per cent from US$48 million in the prior year.
Total passengers carried jumped 22.3 per cent to 14.8 million, Etihad said in a statement on Thursday (UAE time).
Meanwhile, revenue rose 26.7 per cent to US$7.6 billion, helped in part by sales generated through its network of airline alliances and partners, as well as codeshares.
“This strategy delivered revenues of US$1.1 billion in 2014, an increase of 37.7 per cent (US$ 820 million), and represented 24 per cent of Etihad Airways’ total passenger revenues,” Etihad said.
Etihad holds 22.9 per cent of Virgin Australia and has a representative on the Australian carrier’s board. It also has equity stakes in airBerlin, Alitalia, Air Serbia, India’s Jet Airways, Air Seychelles, Aer Lingus and Swiss-based Etihad Regional.
Beyond these carriers, Etihad also has codeshare agreements and loyalty arrangements with a number of other airlines that stretch its route network to more than 500 destinations.
While Etihad chief executive James Hogan flagged further growth in 2015, he expressed concern about the “rise in aggressive protectionist sentiment in Europe and the US”.
“These attempts to limit competition are detrimental to consumer choice,” the Australian-born Hogan said.
“They threaten to damage the significant progress that our airline has made in offering improved travel connections, product and service standards, and value for money.
“Despite these hurdles, Etihad Airways will continue to grow as planned in 2015, working with our equity and codeshare partners around the world to serve the destinations that our guests want to visit and at the times they want to travel.”
The three major US carriers American, Delta and United have called for the open skies agreement between the US and UAE to be renegotiated, while in Europe some countries have flagged moves to curb the growth of the Middle East carriers in their home markets.
Etihad said it expected to take delivery of 16 aircraft in calendar 2015, comprising one Boeing 777-300ER, four 787-9s and four Airbus A380s, as well as six A321s and one A320. The airline ended 2014 with 110 aircraft and has about 200 on firm order.
From June 1, Etihad will deploy the Airbus A380 on the Sydney-Abu Dhabi route, while it will operate direct from Brisbane to Abu Dhabi on the same day with the Boeing 787-9. Previously, Etihad’s Brisbane-Abu Dhabi service made stop in Singapore in both directions.