Etihad Airways carried a total of 10.29 million passengers in 2012, exceeding its target of 10 million passengers for the year, the Abu Dhabi-based airline said in a statement.
The carrier hopes to achieve a 22 per cent year-on-year increase from the 8.41 million passengers it carried in 2011.
The increase in numbers represents an extra 1.88 million passengers travelling on the carrier’s global network that now covers 87 passenger and cargo destinations, and 245 codeshare destinations, said the statement.
“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,” commented James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ president and CEO.
“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.”
Bangkok was the airline’s busiest route, with the airline carrying nearly 691,000 passengers to the city in 2012, a 38 per cent rise from 2011. Manila, Heathrow, Jeddah and Sydney were other popular routes.
Based on year to date figures, Etihad 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.
The airline took delivery of seven new aircraft in 2012, including three Airbus A320s and four Boeing B777s.
It will take delivery of 14 new aircraft in 2013, including 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 plans to start flights to Washington DC in March, Sao Paulo in June, and Ho Chi Minh City in October, it said.
Meanwhile, Etihad Cargo contributed 87 per cent of tonnage into, out of, and through the Abu Dhabi hub in 2012, said the statement.
The total tonnage handled by the airport by the end of the year will be more than 640,000 tonnes, out of which Etihad Cargo carried 365,000 tonnes, 18 per cent more than in 2011.
Etihad’s equity partners have also seen passenger numbers grow this year, the statement added.
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.