Etihad Airways profit up 52% as it faces ‘aggressive protectionist sentiment’ in the US and Europe

Etihad Airways net profit jumped 52 per cent in 2014, as the airline continues to face “aggressive protectionist sentiment” in the US and Europe.

The Abu Dhabi carrier posted a net profit of US$73 million in 2014, compared to $48m in the year earlier period. Revenue was at $7.6 billion last year, reflecting a 26.7 per cent increase from 2013. The airline carried 14.8 million passengers last year, up 22.3 per cent from 2013.

“Although our growth continued strictly to plan in 2014, we are currently faced with unprecedented external challenges,” said James Hogan, president and chief executive of Etihad Airways.

“Of particular concern has been the rise in aggressive protectionist sentiment in Europe and the US, where both Etihad Airways and its partner airlines are being targeted,” he added.

Etihad’s growth strategy is focused on expanding its global route network by code-share partnerships and forming equity alliances, in which it buys equity in carriers in strategically important regions.

Its equity alliance partners include airberlin, Alitalia, Virgin Australia, India’s Jet and Air Seychelles.

Etihad revenue from its equity partners grew by 37.7 per cent to $1.12bn in 2014. The airline did not provide a bottom-line figure for the net profit it attained from its equity partners.

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