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Tue 20 Jul 2010 01:33 PM

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Etihad claims strongest H1 performance to date

Carrier transports 3.3m passengers in H1; Abu Dhabi airport sees 11.7% rise.

Etihad claims strongest H1 performance to date

Etihad Airways on Tuesday reported an 11 percent increase in passenger numbers in the first half of this year compared to last year.

The company said it had transported 3.3m passengers in the six months to June. It added load factors had increased one percent to 72.5 percent over the same period.

“The figures mark Etihad’s best first half performance and signal a return to strong passenger and cargo growth, following the impacts of the global economic recession,” an official statement said.

The airline will operate a total of 1,032 flights a week this summer, a 16 percent rise on the 888 weekly flights operated during the same season in 2009, the statement said.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ CEO, said: “We are very pleased with our performance over the first half of this year. Despite the continuing economic challenges faced by all airlines, our investment in infrastructure and in our service offer is paying off.”

Etihad Airways is owned by the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Launched in 2003, it is still a loss making carrier.

Separately, Abu Dhabi Airports Company on Tuesday said the emirate's largest airport saw a 11.7 percent rise in traffic figures in the first six months of 2010, compared to the same period last year.

Cargo traffic at Abu Dhabi International Airport also registered a 20.3 percent hike, with aircraft movements rising by 11.9 percent in the same period, ADAC said in a statement.

The top five routes out of the capital attracted 20 percent of total passenger traffic, with 5,141,000 passengers passing through the airport between January 10 to June 10.

London proved the top destination, followed by Bangkok in second place and Doha in third. Manilla dropped to fourth place, followed by Bahrain in fifth.

The growth trend is in part a reflection of a global rebound in passenger traffic, backed by a rise in flight frequencies and new destinations by Etihad Airways, the capital’s flagship carrier.

Commenting on the growth trend, James Bennett, CEO of ADAC said the passenger traffic at the airport is growing twice as fast as the global average.

“The positive performance… the continuous growth of our airlines and the expansion of our network reflect the dynamism and potential of the Abu Dhabi market,” he said.

The first half figures also identified Abu Dhabi’s fastest-growing markets, ADAC said. North America demonstrated a 108 percent increase in traffic, while the South West Pacific region showed a 22 percent increase.

Europe, in third place, showed a 19 percent rise in passenger traffic.

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