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Abu Dhabi’s Etihad says passenger traffic up 6% in 2016

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad says passenger traffic up 6% in 2016

“2017 will be another challenging year,” said Etihad Aviation Group president and CEO James Hogan

Abu Dhabi airline Etihad has announced a 6 per cent increase in passenger traffic in a “challenging” 2016.

The carrier said it carried 18.5 million passengers and operated more than 109,000 scheduled passenger and cargo flights during the year spanning 112 destinations.

Capacity measured via available seat kilometres was up 9 per cent and revenue passenger kilometres increased 8 per cent.

The average load factor stood at 79 per cent and the airline carried a flat 592,700 tonnes of cargo.

There was little mention of economic difficulties, which led the airline to cut jobs and restructure its business last year.

Read: Abu Dhabi’s Etihad confirms job cuts to reduce costs

The carrier said it had 26,635 employees representing 150 nationalities as of December 31

“2017 will be another challenging year. We will continue to expand prudently and efficiently, reflecting the nature of the economic environment,” said James Hogan, president and CEO of Etihad Aviation Group.

“We remain optimistic and have every belief that our robust business model will succeed and, most importantly, stand the test of time.”

Hogan will step down in the second half of the year alongside CFO James Rigney amid rumours the airline will pursue a new course from the equity partnership strategy that defined his tenure.

Read: Etihad group CEO James Hogan and CFO to step down

This may include more partnerships rather than stake acquisitions as shown by Etihad’s catering and engineering partnership with rival Lufthansa this month.

Read: Abu Dhabi’s Etihad partners with Lufthansa

The airline said its equity partner network, which includes Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, Jet Airways, Virgin Australia and Etihad Regional, delivered 5.5 million passengers onto Etihad flights last year from 5 million in 2015.

Etihad is scheduled to receive nine Boeing 787s, two Airbus A380s and one A330-200 freighter this year.

It received three Airbus A380s, five Boeing 787s and two Boeing 777-200 cargo freighters last year.

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