Etihad Airways posts $1.7 bln loss in 2020

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Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways posted on Thursday a core operating loss of $1.7 billion for 2020, more than double the year before due to lower demand and reduced service in the pandemic.

Aviation has been one of the industries worst hit by the COVID-19 crisis, forcing airlines to lay off staff and seek government bailouts.

Abu Dhabi government-owned Etihad, which posted a core operating loss of $800 million in 2019, has also slashed jobs and salaries.

Passenger revenue slumped 74% to $1.2 billion from $4.8 billion in 2019, as passenger numbers dropped 76% to 4.2 million, down from 17.5 million in 2019.

“COVID shook the very foundation of the aviation industry, but thanks to our dedicated people and the support of our shareholder, Etihad stood firm and is ready to play a key role as the world returns to flying,” said CEO Tony Douglas said in a statement.

Etihad said it continued to target a complete turnaround by 2023, having accelerated its transformation plans and restructured during the pandemic into a leaner and more agile business.

Etihad once sought to compete head-to-head with major Gulf hub carriers Emirates and Qatar Airways, but its strategy, including taking minority stakes in other airlines, did not bear fruit. It has made losses in the last five years. 

Main Photo: An Etihad Airways Airbus A320. EPA-EFE/DANIEL IRUNGU

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