Middle Eastern carrier Etihad Airways has reported a full-year net profit of $14 million for 2011, exceeding its breakeven target and bringing the airline into the black for the first time in its eight-year history.

Revenue for the 12-month period ending 31 December 2011 grew 36% to $4.1 billion from $2.98 billion in 2010.

Etihad has recorded earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and rentals (EBITDAR) of $648 million.

"Five years ago we said we would be profitable by 2011. Despite the global financial crisis, continued high oil prices, regional instability and natural disasters, we have delivered," said Etihad chief executive James Hogan.

"And we will aim for strong growth again in 2012, in spite of the tough global economic environment, with a passenger traffic target of 10 million and a corresponding increase in profits."

Passenger numbers in 2011 increased by 17% to 8.3 million. Traffic rose 15.8% on a 13% growth in capacity, resulting in a 1.8 percentage point increase in load factor to 75.8%.

Revenue at Etihad Crystal Cargo increased 25.7% to $651 million.

Hogan said Etihad's recent investment in Air Berlin would be "our most important catalyst for growth in 2012", adding that the carrier would continue to look at other opportunities this year.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news