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Etihad announces losses due to falling passenger numbers during pandemic

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Abu Dhabi’s national carrier Etihad reported core operating losses of 400 million US dollars for the first half of the year, driven by a 68% drop in passenger revenue as highly contagious variants of coronavirus course across the globe.

The figure, although half of the 800 million US dollars in losses reported amid the devastation of the pandemic in the first half of 2020, reflects the continued uncertain outlook for international travel.

Over the last six months, the airline carried one million passengers who on average filled 24.9% of plane seats, down from 3.5 million passengers and 71% of seats filled in the first half of 2020.

Tony Douglas, chief executive of Etihad, lamented the “curveball of the Delta variant disrupting the global recovery in air travel”.

But the carrier, which competes with nearby Dubai’s Emirates and Qatar Airways, stressed it is ready to reap the benefits of a rebound after slashing year-on-year operational costs by 27% to 1.4 billion US dollars.

Etihad is one of the Middle East’s top carriers but was wracked by financial losses even before the pandemic clobbered the aviation industry worldwide.

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