Etihad sees traffic up 16% in 2010

Tuesday, 9 November 2010 03:27 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways expects its passenger traffic to grow to 7.3 million in 2010, up about 16 per cent from the previous year, the company said last week.

Average load factor is expected to rise to 77 per cent in 2010 from 74 per cent last year, the government-owned airline said in a statement on its seventh anniversary.

Etihad has flown over 26 million passengers during its seven years and its fleet has grown to 57 aircraft in 2010, it said.

The national airline of the United Arab Emirates celebrated its seventh anniversary on November 5.

“We have witnessed tremendous growth over the past seven years in our route network, aircraft fleet, passenger figures and number of employees,” stated James Hogan, chief executive officer of Etihad Airways.

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.

On the ground, staff numbers increased to more than 8000, including around 2800 cabin crew and over 900 pilots. Etihad currently has more than 60 ‘new-joiners’ each month, drawn from more than 120 different nationalities.

Emiratisation remains a priority for the airline and 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.

Etihad Airways won a range of awards, including ‘World’s Best First Class Airline Seat’ and ‘World’s Best First Class Onboard Catering’ in the annual Skytrax survey, as judged by over 18 million air travellers worldwide. The airline was also recognised at the World Travel Awards Middle East with over six awards received including ‘World’s Leading Airline’.

 “We are looking forward to our eighth year of commercial operation, remaining firmly dedicated to our target of breaking even in 2011,” he added.