By Andy Sambidge
Abu Dhabi carrier flies nearly 12m people while cargo levels also hit record-breaking levels
Etihad Airways said on Monday that it achieved record-breaking passenger and cargo volumes in 2013.
Nearly 12 million people flew with the Abu Dhabi airline last year, marking an increase of nearly 16 percent in comparison to 2012's figure of 10.3 million.
Bangkok was once again the airline's busiest route, with a total of 742,759 passengers flying to Thailand's capital city in 2013, a year-on-year increase of seven percent.
Manila was the second busiest route (547,068 passengers), followed by London (544,564 passengers), Jeddah (373,651 passengers) and Paris (338,969 passengers).
Etihad said it carried 73 percent of the more than 16.4 million passengers who travelled through Abu Dhabi airport in 2013.
James Hogan, president and CEO of Etihad Airways, said: "Our record-breaking numbers in 2013 reflect the continued success of our strategic master plan, which focuses on three fundamental pillars; organic network growth, the forging of codeshare partnerships, and minority equity investments in other airlines.
"As the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, we also continued to support Abu Dhabi's growth as a leading international travel hub, while facilitating trade to and from the country."
Six destinations were introduced to Etihad's network in 2013, with new services launched to Washington DC in March, Amsterdam in May, Sao Paulo and Belgrade in June, Sana'a in September, and Ho Chi Minh City in October.
Frequencies were also increased on 18 existing routes last year and new codeshare agreements were signed with Kenya Airways, Air Serbia, South African Airways, Belavia, Korean Airlines, Air Canada and airBaltic.
Etihad also expanded its codeshare and equity partnerships, which delivered more than 1.8 million passengers onto Etihad Airways flights, 38 percent higher than the 1.3 million in 2012
Cargo growth was also reported, with 486,753 tonnes of freight and mail flown by Etihad Airways last year, a rise of 32 percent compared to 2012 volumes.
Established markets such as China, Hong Kong and India were top performers, in addition to expanding markets such as the Netherlands and the United States.
Hogan added: ""I am excited about what the future holds and look forward to working with all our partners to maximise the return for our shareholder, enable the continued growth and the evolution of Abu Dhabi as an aviation hub, and create a remarkable experience for our passengers."For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.