Etihad Airways has reported its results for the full year 2023, recording AED1.4 billion operating result, driven by AED4 billion year-on-year growth in passenger revenue, while decreasing unit cost excluding fuel by seven per cent, marking a significant improvement in passenger business profitability.

The airline carried 14 million passengers last year, up 40 per cent from the year before, underlining continued robust demand for travel across its growing network, with an overall load factor of 86 per cent, compared to 82 per cent in 2022. Total revenue reached AED20.3 billion in the year ended 31 December 2023, compared to AED18.3 billion in 2022.

Through 2023, the airline launched 15 new destinations, including Lisbon, Copenhagen, Kolkata and Osaka, and grew its operating fleet by 14 aircraft, to support 30 per cent growth in Available Seat Kilometres (ASKs).

The airline also successfully strengthened its balance sheet by reducing net leverage to 2.5x net debt to EBITDA, from 5.0x in 2022, off the back of strong cash flow generation and controlled CAPEX, supported by improving aircraft utilisation and re-activating previously parked aircraft.

Etihad’s strong performance in 2023 follows the completion of the turnaround strategy which saw the airline successfully reorganise its business, sharpening its focus on the core airline offering by divesting from ancillary support services and businesses; restructure the fleet to focus on the most efficient and technologically advanced aircraft; streamline and rationalise its destination network; and increase focus on productivity and cost savings.

Etihad's passenger widebody fleet comprised 78 per cent new generation aircraft, one of the highest ratios in the industry, underscoring its dedication to operational efficiency and contributing significantly to its reduced emission targets.

His Excellency Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of Etihad Aviation Group, said: “A sincere thank you to our customers, as well as the Etihad family for giving flight to our ambition, and delivering the reliable, best-in-class service that is the hallmark of our operation. The team has continued to make our airline stronger and more efficient, while delivering extraordinary customer experiences.

“I am confident we will continue to build on this solid foundation as we grow our network, enhance our offering and connect even more people with Abu Dhabi as we support and promote the emirate’s tourism ambitions, delivering our vision to be the airline that everyone wants to fly.”

The airline also saw an impressive rise in positive customer sentiment across 2023, buoyed by the opening of its new home, Abu Dhabi Zayed International Airport, at the end of the year.

Antonoaldo Neves, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “Following our strong performance in 2023, in which we achieved AED1.4 billion operating result and a net profit of AED525 million (U.S.$ 143 million), our task at hand is to further strengthen our business as we continue our growth strategy and pursue further margin expansion opportunities.

“The execution capability of the Etihad team is outstanding, and it’s thanks to their relentless hard work that we have been able to achieve these results. I am confident we have the best team in the world. This accomplishment underscores our commitment to sustainable, profitable growth, robust cost control and operational efficiency.

“Looking forward, we will continue to deliver on the mandate of our shareholder, which is to be a financially viable airline delivering extraordinary customer experiences.”