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Mon 16 Nov 2009 01:15 PM

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Etihad expects $3bn revenues in 2009 - CEO

UPDATE 1: Abu Dhabi carrier also announces new investments worth $750m.

Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad Airways is "comfortable" it will receive its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner by 2014 and expects revenues to be about $3 billion in 2009, its chief executive said on Monday.

James Hogan said the firm had also pushed back its profitability target by a year due to the global financial crisis.

"We were due to take them (787) in 2013 and are comfortable the 2014 delivery date will be achieved," Hogan told reporters at the Dubai Airshow.

The national carrier of the world's third largest oil exporter ordered 35 787 Dreamliners in June 2008. Boeing pushed back the schedule for its troubled 787 Dreamliner for the fourth time last December, making its new plane almost two years late.

Hogan declined to say how many 787s would be delivered by then or what its fleet replacement strategy would be if there were further delays to the planes.

Gulf Arab carriers, including Emirates, had placed billion-dollar orders for planes from Boeing and rival European planemaker Airbus, banking on regional economic growth to boost traffic through the hub linking East Asia, Europe and Africa.

The six-year old airline, which competes with Dubai's Emirates and Qatar Airways, would see revenues exceed $3 billion in 2009, Hogan said.

The former Gulf Air chief executive said he was also confident Etihad would post its first profit in 2011, a year later than originally scheduled as the onset of the financial crisis had hit yields and the global flu pandemic had slowed passenger traffic.

"Due to the crisis the yield pressure will slide that to 2011," he said.

Going forward Hogan said advanced sales for December and January were looking better than this time last year.

"In 2010, at this stage from yields we are seeing positives ... the big wild card is the pandemic as we move forward, but we are comfortable our costs are under control and we are seeing positive signs and continue to work through it," Hogan said.

Hogan also announced $750 million in investments this week, including a $200 million overhaul order with International Aero Engines, a consortium led by Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney. (Reuters)

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