Etihad Airways has posted a 19% year-on-year increase in its third quarter revenue to $1.3 billion, with passenger numbers rising by 23% to 2.79 million.
For the quarter to 30 September, traffic, measured in RPKs, rose by 21% while ASKs grew by 20%. This led to a load factor of 81.2%, up by 0.4 percentage points year on year.
Abu Dhabi's flag carrier says that passenger revenue increased by 12% to $937 million.
Etihad's president and chief executive, James Hogan, says: "We continue to face an incredibly tough operating environment. Fuel prices remain high and the global economy still carries challenges. The eurozone remains in trouble and there is still some softness in a number of Middle Eastern markets."
Fuel represented 37% of total expenditure for the quarter, making it the single largest cost for the airline. Etihad says that it has hedged 80% of its fuel at price levels well below current market prices with 21 leading international financial institutions for the rest of 2012, as part of a three-year rolling hedging programme.
Revenue from codeshare partners, which accounted for 18% of its passenger revenue in the quarter, surged by 51% to $182 million from $121 million last year.
A significant contribution came from airberlin, in which Etihad Airways holds a 29.21% stake, says the airline. Their codeshare and joint marketing agreements have delivered $51 million in revenue in the year to date, surpassing the initial full year estimates, adds Etihad.
Air Seychelles, in which Etihad Airways holds a 40% stake, has also continued to grow its revenues through increased frequencies and codeshares, with four flights to Abu Dhabi now offering 375 onward connections a week.
It is also reducing costs as it leverages synergies, sharing economies of scale and integration of back office functions with Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi.
"Air Seychelles remains on track to break even in 2012, in the first year of Etihad Airways' five-year management contract, confirming a dramatic turnaround in the airline's economic fortunes after several years of heavy losses," says Etihad.
Virgin Australia, in which Etihad holds a 10% stake, also delivered, with codeshare revenues to Etihad Airways up by 16% year on year.
"We are particularly pleased with the contribution from our codeshare and equity partners. This component of our strategy is delivering a strong and growing revenue stream, complementing our own double-digit organic growth," says Hogan.
Revenue for its freight division, Etihad Crystal Cargo, increased by 6% to $181 million as a result of an 18% year-on-year increase in cargo carried in the quarter to 93,600t.
"The wide segmentation of our business is helping to ensure our continued profitable growth. Australia and our major Asian markets are performing strongly. Our routes into China - Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu - are showing particular potential, which will be further boosted by the strong growth of connecting markets into Africa and our codeshares," says Etihad.