Etihad Airways carried more than six million people in 2008, bucking last year’s global aviation industry downturn.
Some 6,021,931 passengers flew with the Abu Dhabi-based airline, with average seat factors rising to 75 percent from 68 percent. Etihad’s busiest day came on December 19 when 20,937 flew with the carrier.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ CEO, attributed the airline’s passenger figures to fleet and route expansion. Last year, the carrier launched six new services to Beijing, Minsk, Almaty, Kozhikode, Chennai and Moscow.
The airline received nine new aircraft last year, boosting its fleet to 42, and ordered 205 Airbus and Boeing planes worth $43bn worth at the Farnborough International Airshow.
“Despite the impact of the global economic downturn, Etihad performed extremely well in 2008 and we hit our target of flying more than six million passengers during the year,” Hogan said.
“Etihad now has a flight network of 50 global destinations, with an average seat factor of 75 percent, which is an impressive achievement in just five years of operations.
It is also pleasing to note Etihad's pivotal role in the growth of Abu Dhabi as the emirate becomes a global capital for business and tourism,” he added.