Record year for Etihad Airways
Bangkok was once again the airline's busiest route, with a total of 742,759 passengers flying to Thailand's capital city in 2013, a year-on-year increase of seven per cent.
Manila was the second busiest route (547,068 passengers), followed by London (544,564 passengers), Jeddah (373,651 passengers) and Paris (338,969 passengers).
Etihad Airways carried 73 percent of the more than 16.4 million passengers who travelled through Abu Dhabi airport in 2013. With the addition of the airline's equity alliance partners that operate flights into Abu Dhabi, the combined total rises to 79 per cent of passenger traffic at Abu Dhabi airport.
Six destinations were introduced to Etihad Airways' network in 2013, with new services launched to Washington DC in March, Amsterdam in May, Sao Paulo and Belgrade in June, Sana'a in September, and Ho Chi Minh City in October.
Frequencies were also increased on 18 existing routes last year and new codeshare agreements were signed with Kenya Airways, Air Serbia, South African Airways, Belavia, Korean Airlines, Air Canada and airBaltic.
During 2013, building on its organic growth, Etihad Airways also expanded its codeshare and equity partnerships, which delivered more than 1.8 million passengers onto Etihad Airways flights, 38 per cent higher than the 1.3 million in 2012.
In addition to its four existing equity partners - airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia and Aer Lingus - Etihad Airways announced investments in three additional carriers in 2013.
In August, the airline formalised a five-year contract to manage Serbia's national carrier, Air Serbia (formerly Jat Airways), with a 49 percent equity stake. This was followed in November, when the airline obtained regulatory approval from the Indian government to finalise a 24 percent investment in Jet Airways, and announced its intention to acquire 33.3 percent of the Swiss regional carrier Darwin Airline, which will become the first airline to operate under the new brand of Etihad Regional.
Impressive cargo growth was also reported, with 486,753 tonnes of freight and mail flown by Etihad Airways last year, a staggering increase of 32 percent compared to 2012 volumes. The airline accounted for 89 percent of cargo imports, exports and transfers at Abu Dhabi airport last year. ■