November 18, 2019 / 8:26 AM / 18 days ago

Etihad Airways still has long way to go to become profitable: Group CEO

FILE PHOTO: The Etihad Airways headquarters is pictured in Abu Dhabi November 27, 2012. REUTERS/Ben Job

DUBAI (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways still has a long way to go to become profitable, Group CEO Tony Douglas said on Monday.

“We are slightly ahead of where we plan to be. And if we stay focused will see a very strong Etihad,” Douglas told reporters.

Etihad suffered its third consecutive annual loss in 2018 despite cost savings of nearly half a billion dollars as it cut its workforce and fleet.

Etihad, which has trimmed its ambitions to be a major intercontinental airline, has made losses of $4.75 billion since 2016.

Douglas said a series of announcements are expected over the next two to three weeks about the new low-cost carrier it is setting up with Air Arabia AIRA.DU.

“A whole schedule of announcements by the end of first quarter, second quarter,” he said.

He declined to be more specific or say which destinations the low-cost carrier will serve.

The new carrier, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, will be the UAE’s fifth airline. Others include Emirates and Dubai discount carrier flydubai.

Reporting by Stanley Carvalho; editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Jason Neely

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