Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, has appointed Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa as chairman of Etihad Aviation Group board of directors, a resolution issued on Sunday said.
Mr Al Shorafa, who was previously the vice chairman of Etihad, is also chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and of Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange board.
Elena Sorlini, was also appointed as a new member of the airline’s board of directors, Abu Dhabi Media Office said in a statement on its website.
Ms Sorlini is investment director aviation at Abu Dhabi holding company, ADQ, and a board member of Abu Dhabi Airports, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Etihad’s existing board of directors includes Hisham Khalid Malak, Masood Mohammad Mahmood, Jasim Husain Thabet, Mansour Mohamed Al Mulla and Jacob Kalkman, the statement said.
Etihad Airways halved its first-half loss for 2021 on the back of a healthy cargo business. The Abu Dhabi airline, which announced its half-yearly financial results on August 10, said a reduction in costs and expanding its network and cargo business helped it to reduce losses despite Covid-19 variants hampering a recovery of global air travel.
The airline’s cargo revenue rose 56 per cent year on year in the first half of 2021 to $800 million as it carried 365.5 tonnes of freight, an increase of 44 per cent from the same period a year ago, the airline said.
“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,” Tony Douglas, chief executive of Etihad Aviation Group, said at the time.
Cargo revenue has been a lifeline for many airlines globally facing travel restrictions and more contagious variants of the virus that have affected international passenger traffic.
The number of passenger destinations grew by 20 per cent in the first six months of the year to 60 cities as Etihad Airways continued to rebuild air connectivity to the UAE capital.
Overall, the airline expanded its operations during the first half of 2021, operating about 3,500 flights a month to 67 passenger and cargo destinations by the end of June, it said.
Since the beginning of the year, Etihad launched or resumed operations to 10 destinations, including services to Tel Aviv in April.
Etihad Airways operates 64 aircraft, including five freighters.