Etihad Airways will fly 30 per cent more passengers this year as it starts more routes and expands its fleet.
The airline will carry six million passengers this year, up from more than 4.6m passengers in 2007, Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Singapore yesterday.
The carrier expects to increase the fleet to 51 planes by 2012 from 37 it had last year, he said.
Etihad will start flights to Beijing next month and double flights to India as travel to the Middle East from the world’s two-most populous nations increases.
Passenger traffic in the Asia-Pacific region is expanding as economic growth boosts income, enabling more people to fly for the first time.
“The market is growing,” said Hogan.
“It’s still a young market, still opening up.”
The carrier serves 45 destinations including New York and Shanghai. From its Abu Dhabi hub, the airline will add four cities in India, including Kolkata, building on its existing four destinations.
The airline, started by Abu Dhabi’s government in 2003, ordered 12 Airbus planes worth $2.2 billion (Dh8bn) last year. It also raised $398m to fund fleet expansion.
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