Etihad Airways carried a record 4.6 million passengers in 2007, a 67% increase over the previous year, with load factors averaging 69%, also a record.
Last year was one of expansion in many areas for Etihad. It added 13 new aircraft to its fleet, launched service to nine new destinations and added frequencies on a number of key routes. Etihad now serves 45 cities in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe and North America (New York-JFK and Toronto).
Etihad Airways Chief Executive James Hogan said: “Our intense activity in 2007 resulted in another year of significant expansion. The story has been one of both quantity and quality, with record passenger numbers and seat factors together with growing recognition of 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 load factor growth during 2007. Overall, the airline achieved average seat load factors in its economy cabin of 71%, with flights more than 80% full on average on the Dublin, Toronto, Jakarta, Manila, Kathmandu and Lahore services.
Average seat factors in business class rose to 61% during 2007, a year-on-year increase of 46%. The strongest performing business routes in 2007 were Toronto, London Heathrow, Sydney and Geneva.
The most impressive seat factor growth during 2007 was in first class, where average seat load factor increased by 75% 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 record 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.
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%. Etihad’s newest destination—Kathmandu—has quickly established itself as one of the most popular, achieving an overall average seat factor of 80% since service was launched in October.
Etihad’s cargo division, Crystal Cargo, also continued to expand rapidly during 2007, with the number of cargo shipments up more than 43% compared to 2006. The amount of cargo tons transported increased more than 32% to 175,000 tons. In 2007 the division also increased main deck cargo capacity, adding an MD-11 freighter aircraft to its fleet.
While 2008 is young, Etihad can report that it has begun strongly, recording its highest ever passenger numbers on January 3, 4 and 5, when Etihad carried nearly 19,000 passengers on each day, with average seat load factors of 88% across the network.