• Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways reports net profits of $73m for 2014, a rise of 52.1 per cent
  • Revenues reached $7.6bn in 2014, up 26.7 per cent
  • Etihad reported to be preparing to sell a 4.99 per cent stake in Irish Aer Lingus

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways has recorded a net profit of $73m in 2014, up 52.1 per cent on 2013 profits.

Revenues rose 26.7 per cent to $7.6bn in 2014.

Etihad carried 14.8 million passengers in 2014, a year-on-year increase of 22.3 per cent.

Press reports have claimed that Etihad is preparing to sell its stake in Ireland’s Aer Lingus, which it increased to 4.99 per cent in 2014.

The Financial Times reported in March that British International Airlines Group (IAG) had made an €1.35bn offer for the stake. The Irish government has now given its approval.

However, the annual earnings statement called this and similar minority stakes “a key driver of Etihad Airways’ growth in 2014.”

The partnership strategy is based on codeshares, which share routes with other airlines, and minority equity investments.

These minority stakes contributed revenues of $1.1bn in 2014, an increase of 37.7 per cent year on year, and represented 24 per cent of Etihad’s total passenger revenues.

“This has accelerated network growth, giving Etihad Airways the largest route network of any Middle Eastern carrier, reaching more than 500 destinations. It has boosted sales and marketing opportunities in key markets, as well as allowing significant business synergies and cost savings,” the statement continues.

In 2014, Etihad acquired 49 per cent investment in Air Serbia. It also invested €560 million to acquire a 49 per cent shareholding in Italian New Alitalia, and the future purchase of five pairs of London Heathrow Airport slots for lease back to Alitalia.

Etihad also has minority stakes in Indian Jet Airways and Virgin Australia, which it increased to 22.9 per cent in 2014. An investment in Swiss-based Etihad Regional, operated by Darwin Airline, has now been formalised after Swiss Government approval earlier this year.

Cargo revenues were up 19.2 per cent to US$ 1.1 billion, with freight and mail volumes rising from 487,000 to 569,000 tonnes.

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