27 Jun 2013 10:30

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has hosted its latest financial roadshow for Australian bankers in Sydney, following editions held earlier this year in London and New York. 

Attracting 70 bankers from many of the world’s largest financial institutions, the roadshow offered an ideal opportunity to deepen the strong ties between the Abu Dhabi-based airline and Australia’s financial community.

The Etihad Airways delegation was led by James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer, and included James Rigney, Chief Financial Officer, and Ricky Thirion, Vice President and Group Treasurer.

The delegation briefed bankers on the airline’s achievements in 2012 and outlined its strategy to achieve consistent, sustainable profitability, as well as updating them on the expansion of Etihad Airways’ equity alliance.

Mr Hogan said “Etihad Airways continues to expand its flight network, fleet of aircraft, and passengers carried, and the banking community around the world, and in Australia, play a key role in helping ensure this successful growth is maintained.

“The banking institutions view Etihad Airways as a financially sound company with a strong track record in safety and we are always eager to spend time with them to communicate the latest developments at the airline.”

In 2012, Etihad Airways earned total revenues of US$4.8 billion and had a net profit of US$42 million and this strong financial portfolio, built up during the previous six years, has allowed it to gain more than US$7.1 billion in funding from more than 60 financial institutions.

In addition to gaining the finance required for new aircraft and engines, Etihad Airways closely manages major financial market risks such as fuel, FX, interest rates and emissions.

This has enhanced the airline’s reputation for successful fiscal discipline and cost control.

Mr Hogan and his team discussed Etihad Airways renowned hedging strategy with the bankers in Sydney. The airline’s jet fuel is hedged at 81 per cent for the remainder of 2013, 62 per cent for 2014, 33 per cent for 2015, and nine per cent for 2016.

During the past 12 months Etihad Airways has continued to expand its three pillared strategy of organic growth, codeshare and interline partnerships, and equity alliance of minority stakes in other airlines.

The most recent to join the equity alliance of airberlin, Aer Lingus, Air Seychelles, and Virgin Australia is the Indian carrier, Jet Airways. Subject to Indian government approval, Etihad Airways will invest US$379 million for a 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways.

Following the Jet Airways announcement on 24 April 2013, Etihad Airways agreed an initial memorandum of understanding with the Government of Serbia to explore equity opportunities in its national carrier, JatAirways.

During the last 12 months Etihad Airways has also taken the first step in creating a global loyalty management platform. This began with the integration of Seychelles Plus, the Air Seychelles frequent flyer program, into the Etihad Guest loyalty program.

In December 2012 Etihad Airways took a 70 per cent stake in topbonus, airberlin’s loyalty program, and created a new company that will eventually include the Etihad Guest program and those of other airlines.

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