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Etihad boss says July the airline’s best month in over a year

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The chief executive of Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways on Wednesday said there was cause for some optimism after July marked the airline’s strongest month in about a year and a half.

The state-owned carrier filled just over 40% of its seats in July, CEO Tony Douglas said in an online interview with aviation consultancy CAPA, versus just 24.9% over the first six months of the year.

Douglas attributed the July passenger traffic increase to countries easing travel restrictions as more people in those nations were vaccinated against COVID-19.

That had given cause for optimism, he said, though he cautioned that the operating environment remained difficult.

“We need to be realistic in managing costs with an obsession to detail,” Douglas said, adding that he expected the corporate travel segment to remain suppressed for some time.

Etihad has operated flights over the peak summer season to holiday destinations like Mykonos in Greece and Malaga in Spain, places the airline did not typically fly to before the pandemic.

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