Etihad carried 10.29 million passengers during 2012, exceeding its target of 10 million passengers for the year. The figure is up from 8.41 million passengers in 2011, representing a 22 per cent increase.
The growth was spurred by partner airlines in which Etihad has investments including Virgin Australia, airberlin, Aer Lingus and Air Seychelles. Etihad said the benefits of its equity arrangements were delivering tangible benefits, citing its cooperation with airberlin that delivered more than 300,000 passengers to each airline’s network during the last 12 months.
Etihad has bucked the depressed global airfreight market by posting an 18 per cent gain on 2011, with a record 365,000 tonnes carried last year.
Demonstrating the importance of Australia to its global network, Sydney is ranked fifth in Etihad’s top 10 routes by the number of passengers carried. Bangkok was the airline’s busiest route, carrying 691,000 passengers during 2012 – an increase of 38 per cent on the previous year.
Meanwhile Emirates is also responding to growing demand for services to Bangkok, announcing a fifth-daily service between Dubai and the Thai capital.