Etihad Airways flew more than six million passengers in 2008, a 34% jump on 2007. The growth during 2008, Etihad’s fifth year of operati ons, saw passenger numbers total 6,021,931 and the average seat factor rise from 68% to 75%. The airline has also taken delivery of nine new aircraft boosting its fleet to a total of 42.
Etihad launched six new routes in 2008 – Beijing, Minsk, Almaty, Kozhikode, Chennai and Moscow – as well as signing a record order of USD $43 billion at the Farnborough International Airshow for up to 205 Airbus and Boeing aircraft
The airline won 17 global awards for service and innovation during 2008. The highlights included winning the “airline of the year” at the Aviation Business, Arabian Business and British Travel Awards.
Etihad announced new codeshare agreements with Jet Airways, Yemen Airways, Saudi Arabia Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines in 2008 taking the total number of partners to nine airlines.
Etihad’s cargo division, Crystal Cargo, also continued to expand rapidly during 2008 with the number of cargo shipments handled up more than 19 per cent compared to 2007.