Gulf carrier Etihad Airways today announced that it had posted a $400m loss for the first six months of the year, half of the $800m it booked last year.
The airline said that it had carried just 1m passengers in the period, down 71.5 per cent on a year ago.
Passenger revenue came in at $300m, down by 68 per cent year-on-year from $1bn, but this was offset by a 56 per cent increase in cargo revenue to $800m.
Etihad added that it had managed to slash operating costs by 27 per cent, from $1.9bn to $1.4bn, meaning the airline has now rebuilt its liquidity to pre-pandemic levels.
Chief executive Tony Douglas said that the airline was “making up for lost ground”.
“Despite the curveball of the Delta variant disrupting the global recovery in air travel, we have continued to ramp up operations and are today in a much better place than this time in 2020”, he added.
“As soon as destinations are added to the Abu Dhabi green list or UAE travel corridors, we are seeing a three to six-fold jump in bookings in some cases, showing there is a tidal wave of demand waiting to be unleashed.”
Etihad has operated under tougher restrictions than some other United Arab Emirates carriers since the country lifted a months-long ban on most international travel in the second half of 2020.
Abu Dhabi, the largest emirate and capital of the UAE, currently requires most international arrivals to quarantine for several days while only those from select destinations are exempt.
In neighbouring Dubai, where airline Emirates is based, most international arrivals are required to present a negative coronavirus polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test without having to quarantine.