Etihad stays in profit for second year running

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Middle Eastern carrier Etihad Airways has turned in a 24% rise in earnings before interest and tax for the full year 2012, to $170 million, and trebled its net profit.

The airline's revenues increased by 17% to $4.8 billion.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad's net profit of $42 million means its margin is still less than 1%, but the results nevertheless mark its second consecutive year in the black.

Partner carriers from its codeshare and alliance network contributed nearly 20% of passenger revenues, the airline states.

Etihad's traffic rose by 23% on a 20% hike in capacity, and its seat factor climbed to 78.2%. The airline operates a fleet of 70 aircraft.

Chief executive James Hogan says the airline "understands how to manage costs". The carrier hedged 80% of its fuel costs, and achieved a 5% reduction in non-fuel costs per available seat-kilometre.

Etihad has equity stakes in Air Seychelles, Air Berlin, Virgin Australia and Aer Lingus and has forged a new strategic partnership with Air France-KLM.

This year the airline intends to take delivery of another 14 aircraft: six Boeing 777-300ERs and five Airbus A320-family jets, plus two 777 and one A330 freighter.

Etihad's cargo business recorded a 19% growth in tonnage against a 14% rise in capacity. Hogan says the cargo division is "continuing to outperform the market".