Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, carried a record number of passengers and cargo in 2014, marking its strongest operational performance to date.
Almost 14.8 million passengers flew with Etihad Airways last year, a significant increase of 23% over 2013 levels. The growth in passenger demand continued to outstrip the airline’s capacity increase, highlighting the strength of its long-term growth strategy.
In total, Etihad Airways carried more than 74% of the 19.9 million passengers who travelled through Abu Dhabi International Airport in 2014. With the addition of the airline’s equity partners that operate flights into the UAE capital, the combined total rises to a significant 82% of passenger traffic at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
James Hogan, president and CEO of Etihad Airways, said: “Our business model, which focuses on organic network growth, codeshare partnerships and minority equity investments in other airlines, continued to yield positive results in 2014 and surpassed our double-digit targets for passenger and cargo growth.”
Etihad Airways introduced 10 additional destinations to its global route network in 2014, with new services launched to Medina, Jaipur, Los Angeles and Zurich in the first half of the year, and Perth, Rome, Yerevan, Phuket, San Francisco and Dallas in the second half of the year. In addition, frequencies were increased on 23 existing routes across the world in 2014.
Building on its organic growth, the airline also expanded its codeshare and equity partnerships last year. These partnerships delivered over 3.5 million passengers onto Etihad Airways flights, an increase of 40% over the 2.5 million passengers in 2013.
New codeshare agreements were launched with Air Europa, jetBlue, Philippine Airlines, GOL, SAS, Hong Kong Airlines and Aerolineas Argentinas, while Etihad Airways’ existing codeshares with South African Airways, Alitalia and Jet Airways were significantly expanded.
In August 2014, the airline announced a €560 million investment in New Alitalia to acquire a 49% shareholding in the carrier, a 75% interest in Alitalia Loyalty, which operates the MilleMiglia frequent flier program, and five pairs of slots at London’s Heathrow Airport, which will be leased back to Alitalia. The transaction received European Commission merger clearance in November 2014 and became effective on December 31, 2014.
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