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April 16, 2008

Etihad achieves huge passenger growth in 2007

Etihad Airways has revealed its best ever passenger figures for 2007, a huge 67 per cent rise on the previous year.

The national airline of the United Arab Emirates carried more than 4.6 million passengers during 2007 compared to 2.8 million in 2006.

During the 12 month period, the airline achieved seat factors averaging 69 per cent across its network of 45 destinations, its highest ever achievement.

The airline boosted its fleet by 13 aircraft to a total of 37, launched nine new destinations and expanded its flying programme with additional frequencies added to a number of its key routes.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive, said: “Our intense activity in 2007 witnessed another year of significant expansion for Etihad. The story has been one of both quantity and quality, with record passenger numbers and seat factors together with growing recognition for the quality of Etihad’s products and services as witnessed by a number of top industry awards.”

All of Etihad’s passenger cabins experienced significant seat factor growth during 2007. The airline achieved average seat factors in its economy cabin of 71 per cent, with flights more than 80 per cent full on average on the airline’s Dublin, Toronto, Jakarta, Manila, Kathmandu and Lahore services.

Average seat factors in business class rose to 61 per cent during 2007, a year-on-year increase of 46 per cent. The strongest performing business routes during the 12 month period were Toronto, London Heathrow, Sydney and Geneva, with average seat factors of 81 per cent, 76 per cent, 76 per cent and 70 per cent, respectively.

The most impressive seat factor growth during 2007 was in first class where average seat factors increased by 75 per cent compared to 2006.
Mr Hogan added: “Early indications are that 2008 will be another strong year for Etihad, with the first few days of the new year seeing the airline enjoy record-breaking passenger numbers across the network. This year promises to be as exciting as the last, with key highlights including the launch of our first flights to China and the airline’s move to a new, dedicated airport terminal at our home base Abu Dhabi.”

Routes in the Middle East which performed particularly well during 2007 include Damascus and Amman, achieving average seat factors of 71 and 72 per cent, respectively.

Services to the Indian subcontinent once again experienced particularly strong demand, with average seat factors in economy on Dhaka, Islamabad and Lahore routes of more than 80 per cent. Etihad’s most recently launched destination – Kathmandu - has quickly established itself as one of the airline’s most popular, achieving an overall average seat factor of 80 per cent since it was launched in October 2007.

The airline’s holiday division, Etihad Holidays, increased its sales by 63 per cent in the last year. New destinations added this year in to its growing portfolio include Brisbane, the Australian Gold Coast and Singapore.  

Etihad’s cargo division, Crystal Cargo, also continued to expand rapidly during 2007 with the number of cargo shipments handled up more than 43 per cent compared to 2006. In the 12 month period, the amount of cargo tonnes transported increased more than 32 per cent to 175,000 tonnes. The division also increased main deck cargo capacity, adding an MD11 freighter aircraft to its fleet during the year.

Earlier this month, Etihad Airways revealed that it has enjoyed its highest ever daily passenger figures during the first days of the new year. On Thursday 3, Friday 4 and Saturday 5 January the Abu Dhabi-based airline carried nearly 19,000 passengers each day, with average seat factors of 88 per cent across its network to break the carrier’s record loads.

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