Etihad Airways has surpassed its target of carrying 10 million passengers in 2012 and is set to achieve a 22 per cent increase on the total of 8.41 million passengers for 2011. The increase in passenger numbers - up to a total of 10.29 million - represents an extra 1.88 million passengers travelling on the carrier’s global network that now covers 87 of its own passenger and cargo destinations, and 245 codeshare destinations. The passenger growth for Etihad Airways is mirrored by its equity partners. By the end of 2012, airberlin is expected to have carried 33.4 million passengers, Virgin Australia 19.5 million passengers*, Aer Lingus nearly 11 million passengers, and Air Seychelles 241,000 passengers. Etihad Airways and its equity partners will have collectively carried more than 74 million passengers in 2012, with cooperation between the five airlines greatly contributing to passenger growth. An example of the success of this cooperation is the 300,000 passengers airberlin and Etihad Airways have delivered onto each other’s networks during the last 12 months. James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Etihad Airways has achieved significant expansion in 2012 and therefore it’s very satisfying to pass our target of flying more than 10 million passengers during a year for the first time. “We have launched flights to six new destinations during the last year - Tripoli, Shanghai, Nairobi, Basra, Lagos, and Ahmedabad - which have all contributed to the 22 per cent increase in passenger numbers.”
Based on year to date figures, Etihad Airways will have carried 73 per cent of all passengers at Abu Dhabi airport, a 5.3 per cent increase on 2011’s figure of 67.7 per cent. With the addition of Etihad Airways’ equity partners that operate flights into Abu Dhabi, the combined passenger number total for 2012 rises to 76 per cent. The further addition of Etihad Airways’ codeshare partners that operate into Abu Dhabi - Air Astana, Alitalia, Czech Airlines, Garuda Indonesian, Hainan Airlines, Jet Airways, KLM, MEA, nasair, RAK Airways, Safi Airways, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Sri Lankan Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Ukraine International - the total percentage of all passenger traffic through Abu Dhabi increases to 81 per cent. In 2012 Etihad Cargo has contributed 87 per cent of tonnage into, out of, and through the Abu Dhabi hub. The total handled hub tonnage by the end of the year will be more than 640,000 tonnes. Overall in 2012 Etihad Cargo carried a record 365,000 tonnes, which is 18 per cent more than in 2011. Etihad Airways’ busiest route was Bangkok with the airline carrying nearly 691,000 passengers to the Thai capital during the year, a 38 per cent increase on 2011. This was closely followed by Manila, Heathrow and Jeddah. Sydney, Paris, Frankfurt, Manchester, Doha and Dublin complete the list of the 10 most popular routes. During 2012 Etihad Airways beat its previous record for the number of passengers carried in a single day with 33,766 passengers flying on Saturday 14 July. The airline took delivery of seven new aircraft in 2012, three Airbus A320s and four Boeing B777s. Etihad Airways will take delivery of 14 new aircraft in 2013, four A320 passenger aircraft, one A321 passenger aircraft, and one A330 freighter from Airbus; two B777 freighters, and six B777-300ER passenger aircraft from Boeing. The airline has announced it will start flights to at least three new destinations in 2013, Washington DC in March, Sao Paulo in June, and Ho Chi Minh City in October.