Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates’ flagship carrier Etihad said on Thursday it lost $1.87 billion (Cdn$2.34b) in 2016, blaming “one-off impairment charges and fuel hedging losses” for the massive loss.
The Abu Dhabi-based airline’s loss comes during a tough time for the Gulf’s long-haul carriers, as a diplomatic crisis with Qatar upended regional air routes and Trump administration’s travel ban on six majority Muslim nations also hurt their business.
Etihad’s loss also comes as it re-evaluates its business plans following the January departure of CEO James Hogan. He led an aggressive multi-year buying spree that saw the Mideast carrier snap up stakes in airlines from Europe to Australia.
Etihad said the loss included a $1.06 billion (Cdn$ 1.33b) charge on aircraft reflecting lower market values and a $808 million (Cdn $1.01b) charge on certain assets and financial exposures to equity partners, mainly related to Alitalia and Air Berlin. It also blamed a slowdown in the cargo market and legacy fuel hedging costs for the loss.
“A culmination of factors contributed to the disappointing results for 2016,” said Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel al-Mazrouei, chairman of the Etihad Aviation Group.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad’s new CEO, offered a grim outlook.
“We are in an industry characterized by overcapacity, declining market sizes on key routes and changing customer behaviour as a weak global economy affects spending appetite,” Baumgartner said in a statement.
Etihad has more than 110 passenger and cargo destinations around the world and flies a fleet of over 120 Airbus and Boeing aircraft.