Etihad Airways is celebrating its seventh birthday today, as the national airline of the United Arab Emirates continues to go from strength-to-strength.
In seven years of rapid growth, Etihad has flown over 26 million passengers on more than 180,000 flights to destinations around the world. Over the same period it has seen its fleet grow to 57 aircraft.
Emerging from the global recession, 2010 has seen the airline placed at the forefront of a return to passenger travel. To date this year, Etihad has carried over six million passengers and is expected to carry more than 7.3 million passengers by the end of the 2010, compared to 6.3 million in 2009.
The load factor has also increased significantly from 74 per cent in 2009, and is expected to average 77 per cent for 2010.
Chief executive James Hogan said: “We have witnessed tremendous growth over the past seven years in our route network, aircraft fleet, passenger figures and number of employees.
“Industry and customer endorsement is evidence of Etihad’s significant achievements over this period and is testimony to the enormous commitment of our staff in delivering the very best travel experience in the aviation industry.”
Chief executive James Hogan is celebrating seven years of success at Etihad
Five new routes were added to the airline’s global network during 2010 - Colombo, Nagoya, Tokyo, Erbil, and Seoul - while access to many key destinations on Etihad’s global network was improved following a 12 per cent increase in the number of weekly flights from 928 in 2009 to more than a thousand in 2010.
To serve network growth, fleet expansion continued in 2010 with the addition of three new aircraft including one A330-300 aircraft and two A330-200F freighter aircraft.
A further A330-300 aircraft will come into service by November 13th, bringing the fleet complement, including six freighters, to 57 by year end.
Growth in the sky was matched by continued expansion on the ground where staff numbers increased to more than 8,000, including around 2,800 cabin crew and over 900 pilots.
Emiratisation remains a priority for the airline and recruitment of top talent from across the UAE continues. UAE nationals now comprise 12 per cent of the total workforce, up from eight per cent in 2009.
Etihad’s cargo division, Crystal Cargo, continued to expand rapidly during 2010.
Cargo shipments and tonnage increased year on year by 19 and 20 per cent respectively.
The dedicated freighter fleet increased to six after two Airbus A330-200F were taken into service this year, and scheduled cargo services were launched to Hong Kong, Beijing, Erbil and N’djamena, Narita and Nagoya.
The airline was also recognised at the World Travel Awards Middle East with over six awards received including ‘World’s Leading Airline’
James Hogan said: “It has been a tremendously exciting and productive year for Etihad Airways and we are looking forward to our eighth year of commercial operation, remaining firmly dedicated to our target of breaking even in 2011.”