Etihad Airways will see conservative growth over the next two years as the Middle East carrier plans to take delivery of 11 new aircraft.

Etihad currently operates a 57-aircraft fleet after receiving two Airbus A330-300s and two A330-200Fs this year. Next year Etihad plans to take delivery of seven new aircraft, a mix of Airbus and Boeing aircraft. The carrier will add one A330-200, three A330-300s, two Boeing 777-300ERs and one 777F aircraft. Plans for 2012 include the induction of another four 777-300ERs.

The carrier describes itself as having entered its "maturing" phase seven years since its inception, with a push for more growth to come from 2012, when it will takes delivery of more than 80 aircraft over a five-year period to have 150 aircraft in operation by 2017.

"No airline in the world has developed as fast as Etihad Airways," says chief executive James Hogan, addsing out that Etihad has achieved similar passenger volume in less than half time of the major competitors. Hogan expects Etihad to carry more than 7.3 million passengers this year (one million more than in 2009) - a level achieved by Qatar Airways in 13 years and by Emirates in 18.

Source: Flight International