Etihad Airways has announced its operating and financial results for the first half of 2021 as the Abu Dhabi flag-carrier continues to battle back from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Passenger revenue came in at US$0.3 billion for the first six months of the year, down by 68 per cent year-on-year from the already depressed figure of US$1 billion seen in early 2020.

However, the dip in passenger revenue was offset by a stronger performance in cargo operations.

The airline saw a 44 per cent year-on-year increase in freight carried in the first half of 2021, as well as a 56 per cent year-on-year increase in revenue (US$0.8 billion).

Overall, net losses stood at US$0.4 billion for the first half, an improvement on the loss of US$0.8 billion seen for the same period last year.

The airline carried one million passengers in half one of 2021, with an average seat load factor of 25 per cent.

Tony Douglas, group chief executive, Etihad Airways Group, said: “Every day, Etihad Airways is making up for lost ground.

“Despite the curveball of the Delta variant disrupting the global recovery in air travel, we have continued to ramp up operations and are today in a much better place than this time in 2020.

“As soon as destinations are added to the Abu Dhabi green list or UAE travel corridors, we are seeing a three to six-fold jump in bookings in some cases, showing there is a tidal wave of demand waiting to be unleashed.

“We are ready to welcome more guests on board to experience why Etihad is second to none when it comes to ensuring passenger wellbeing.”

Network capacity at Etihad in the first half of 2021 came in at 16.4 billion available seat kilometres, and has grown steadily since the start of the year.

The airline is currently operating almost 3,500 flights a month to 67 passenger and cargo destinations.

Since the beginning of 2021, Etihad has launched or restarted operations to ten destinations including the historic launch of scheduled services to Tel Aviv in April.