In a statement released on Tuesday, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad carrier reported a staggering $478 million loss for 2021, underscoring the ongoing challenges that airlines around the world face as travelers slowly return to the skies in the wake of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and easing of travel restrictions.
In 2020 it lost an astounding $1.7 billion in core operating losses. The airline said that the figure represents a much smaller loss compared with that.
Furthermore, the figures are well below 2019, when core losses exceeded $800 million.
According to the airline, it carried 3.5 million passengers in 2021. During the UAE’s peak winter travel season, passengers doubled in the second half of the year. In spite of this, the airline’s overall passenger revenues declined 14% from the previous year.
In contrast to Dubai, Abu Dhabi adopted a more stringent policy to combat the Coronavirus.
One of the two flagship airlines in the United Arab Emirates, Etihad remains one of the region’s top airlines, despite its financial struggles.
The company reported that cargo revenue grew by 49% to $1.73 billion last year, an all-time high.
Etihad was launched in 2003 by Abu Dhabi’s rulers, competing with Emirates, a government-owned carrier in Dubai with a larger fleet and a network that reaches worldwide. Using the country’s status as a key transit point east-west as their advantage, the two airlines compete in the long-haul carrier market.