Etihad Airways achieved its highest ever passenger and cargo volumes in 2013. Nearly 12 million people flew with Etihad last year, marking a significant increase of nearly 16% in comparison to 2012’s figure of 10.3 million. Etihad carried more than 240,000 passengers on its Dublin flights, an increase of 8% on the total carried in 2012. The airline also carried its one-millionth passenger on the Dublin route in 2013. Meanwhile, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD visited Etihad’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi today.
Bangkok was once again the airline’s busiest route, with a total of 742,759 passengers, a year-on-year increase of 7%. 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 Airways carried 73% of the more than 16.4 million passengers who travelled through Abu Dhabi airport in 2013. With the addition of the airline’s equity alliance partners that operate flights into Abu Dhabi, the combined total rises to 79% of passenger traffic at Abu Dhabi airport.
James Hogan, President and Chief Executive, 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 Airways’ 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.
During 2013, building on its organic growth, Etihad Airways also expanded its codeshare and equity partnerships, which delivered more than 1.8 million passengers on to Etihad Airways flights, 38% higher than the 1.3 million in 2012.
In addition to its four existing equity partners – airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia and Aer Lingus – Etihad Airways announced investments in three additional carriers in 2013.
In August, the airline formalised a five-year contract to manage Serbia’s national carrier, Air Serbia (formerly Jat Airways), with a 49% equity stake. This was followed in November, when the airline obtained regulatory approval from the Indian government to finalise a 24% investment in Jet Airways, and announced its intention to acquire 33.3% of the Swiss regional carrier Darwin Airline, which will become the first airline to operate under the new brand of Etihad Regional.
Last year, Etihad Airways took delivery of eight Airbus aircraft (four A320s, one A321, two A330-200s and one A330 freighter), eight Boeing aircraft (six 777-300ERs and two 777 freighters), and added further leased capacity that included the airline’s inaugural 747-8 freighter. Its fleet now comprises 89 aircraft, with an average age of only 5.2 years.
James Hogan added: “This has been another game-changing year and once again, the customer was placed at the heart of everything we did. Our service enhancements in 2013, from the launch of our Flying Nanny service to the continued rollout of wi-fi Internet and live television across our fleet, highlight a commitment to delivering best-in-class products and services.
“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.”
Etihad Airways’ Top 10 Routes in 2013
Enda Kenny Visits Etihad HQ
Meanwhile, Etihad today hosted a visit by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, at its Abu Dhabi headquarters. In the Arabian Gulf region as part of an Enterprise Ireland trade and investment mission to promote greater commercial ties with Ireland, he was met by James Hogan and members of the airline’s senior management, which includes several Irish nationals.
The Irish Trade Mission included H.E. Patrick Hennessy, Irish Ambassador to UAE; Julie Sinnamon, Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Ireland; and Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Ireland.
An Taoiseach met Irish members of the Etihad Airways workforce during the visit. The airline currently employs 176 Irish nationals, including 115 members of staff based in Abu Dhabi and a team of 34 in Dublin.
James Hogan said: “Etihad Airways is proud to have formed strong commercial and cultural ties with Ireland, which has been built upon further by today’s visit by An Taoiseach and the Irish Trade Mission to our Abu Dhabi headquarters.
“These ties are supported by our 10 flights a week between Abu Dhabi and Dublin, the strong Irish contingent in our workforce, as well as our equity and codeshare partnership with Aer Lingus, and our sponsorship of the GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Championship.”
Enda Kenny presented James Hogan with a certificate of Irish descendancy, which traces his Irish family lineage back to the 1800s. James, whose great great grandfather hailed from Cork, was the key driving force behind the launch of the Abu Dhabi – Dublin route, when services commenced on 2nd July 2007.
In parallel with the meeting between Mr Kenny and Mr Hogan, a workshop took place at the Etihad Airways Training Academy between representatives from Irish aviation companies and suppliers and their counterparts in Etihad Airways. These companies included Botany Weaving Mill, Intuition, Cut-e, Miagen, College Ireland Aviation Services (CIAS), Fexco, Monex, Mobile Travel Technologies, Vibe Training, Solgari, Eirtech Aviation.
Etihad Airways has a number of key investments in Ireland including a line maintenance facility and premium lounge at Dublin Airport, as well as cultural partnerships with the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) hurling and The Gathering Ireland 2013.