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Etihad Airways reveals plan to meet 18m passenger goal

Etihad Airways is opening new routes to Boston and Nairobi in 2024 Etihad Airways
ADQ has been weighing the options of a conventional IPO or a direct listing for Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi’s flagship carrier, will broaden its international reach by expanding its network of destinations and increasing flight frequencies to major global cities in 2024, in a bid to reach 18 million passengers by 2025.

“The aim is to usher in a new phase of sustainable growth, underpinned by a robust strategic plan,” group CEO Antonoaldo Neves told the UAE state-run Wam news agency.

The airline will operate four weekly flights to Boston, its fourth destination in the US, beginning March 31. Flights to Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, will start from May 1.

The airline started flying to Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, increasing its presence in India to ten destinations. Concurrently, weekly flight frequencies will increase to Cairo (21), Colombo (7), Islamabad (14) and the Maldives (14).

Neves is optimistic of a resurgence in passenger numbers, targeting pre-pandemic 2017 levels of 18 million by 2025. Passenger numbers reached 17 million before the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2019.

“Etihad Airways is in a better financial position than in 2017, having witnessed a 30 percent growth in the number of passengers last year compared to 2022,” he added.

Etihad Airways group CEO Antonoaldo Neves

He pointed out that the airline has laid out a long-term plan to reach 30 million passengers per year, three times the number of passengers compared to 2022.

He explained that Etihad’s network will expand to over 125 destinations under its 2030 strategic plan, supported by its strategic location linking Asia and Europe, focusing on connecting short and medium-haul destinations in the GCC, India, and Asia with long-haul destinations in Europe and the east coast of America.

With an eye on the future, the airline’s fleet is anticipated to increase from 86 in 2023 to 160 aircraft by 2030.

“In 2017, our fleet peaked at 110 aircraft, and we worked on reducing the fleet size between 2019 and 2022,” Neves said, adding that large aircraft such as the Airbus A380, Boeing 787, and Boeing 777 are being added to its fleet.

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