Etihad passenger numbers up 17% in 2011

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Etihad Airways recorded a 17% growth in passenger numbers to 8.29 million in 2011, compared with the year prior.

Etihad Crystal Cargo carried 310,000 tonnes of cargo in 2011, up 18% year on year.

The carrier said its busiest route was Bangkok, where passenger numbers grew 17% to 501,000, followed by London with 479,000 passengers and Manila with 446,000. Routes to Jeddah recorded the highest growth of 48% to 289,000 passengers.

Over the year, services were launched to Bangalore, the Maldives, the Seychelles, Chengdu, Dusseldorf, Tripoli, Shanghai and Nairobi.

"In cargo, the strongest growth was seen out of Europe as exports from markets such as Germany and Italy held firm during a challenging back half of the year," said president and chief executive of Etihad Airways, James Hogan.

"We launched freighter services into Amsterdam, Cairo, Djibouti, Kabul and Kandahar during the year, increased operations to our key markets of China and India while growing Johannesburg by up to three freighters a week," he added.

Etihad Crystal Cargo introduced its first Boeing 777F during the year with two more scheduled for delivery in 2013, said the carrier.