Etihad ‘to continue fight for traveller choice’ as passenger traffic up 17% in 2015

Etihad Airways chief James Hogan said the airline will “continue to fight to bring new competitive choice to travellers” as it reported a 17 per cent increase in passenger traffic for last year.

The Abu Dhabi airline said that it carried 17.4 million passengers in 2015, and operated 97,400 flights.

Etihad introduced six additional destinations to its global route network in 2015, with new flights to Kolkata, Madrid, Edinburgh, Entebbe, Hong Kong, and Dar es Salaam, and a new direct service to Brisbane.

But it has come under fire, along with Emirates and Qatar Airways, from both the United States and Europe for alleged government handouts totalling $42bn, which the Gulf carriers deny.

“No airline group is doing more to stimulate new competition in the aviation industry,” Mr Hogan said.

”We continue to face challenges, not least the protectionism of the major American and European legacy carriers. We will continue to fight to bring new competitive choice to travellers around the world.”

Last year also saw Etihad’s fleet boosted with the deployment of the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which entered commercial service on routes to Washington DC, Zurich, Singapore and Brisbane.

The Airbus A380 network was expanded with a second service to London Heathrow and new flights to Sydney and New York.

This year, the airline will commence its third daily A380 service to London Heathrow, and will add two new A380 destinations of Mumbai and Melbourne, while the Boeing 787 will start flying to five new cities: Düsseldorf, Perth, Shanghai, Istanbul and Johannesburg.

More to follow.

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