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Wed 2 May 2007 11:04 PM

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Etihad set for more European flights

ATM Special: Etihad Airways plans to launch more flights in Europe, according to its chief executive.

Etihad Airways plans to launch more flights in Europe, according to its chief executive.

James Hogan said the airline will add Dublin and Milan to its destinations later this year. "In aviation you look at three years for a route to become viable. It's extraordinary the number of new destinations that have developed," he added.

The airline, which recently extended its flight path to Sydney, will also fly to Shanghai by January next year.

The new flights follow a period of strong growth for the company. During this year's first quarter, Etihad passenger numbers have more than tripled to some one million compared with the 373,333 that travelled by April last year.

"I have been very fortunate to enter an environment where a number of people have laid a strong foundation under the guidance of the chairman. It's one of the fastest growing airlines in the world," Hogan said. "My job over the next three years is to consolidate the business and bring maturity to it."

Increasing passenger numbers is also on the agenda, according to Hogan. "We have a business cycle to reach by 2010 and that's what we intend to do," he said. "We are introducing new aircraft and it all comes together over a period of time as the building blocks of the business start to integrate."

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