Etihad Airways said on Sunday it has surpassed its target of carrying 10 million passengers in 2012 and is set to achieve a 22 percent increase on the total of 8.41 million passengers for 2011.
The increase in passenger numbers - up to a total of 10.29 million - represents an extra 1.88 million passengers travelling on the carrier’s global network that now covers 87 of its own passenger and cargo destinations, and 245 codeshare destinations.
Based on year to date figures, Etihad said it will have carried 73 percent of all passengers at Abu Dhabi airport, a 5.3 per cent increase on 2011's figure of 67.7 percent.
With the addition of Etihad's equity partners that operate flights into Abu Dhabi, the combined passenger number total for 2012 rises to 76 percent.
The further addition of Etihad's codeshare partners that operate into Abu Dhabi raises the total percentage of all passenger traffic through Abu Dhabi to 81 percent.
This was closely followed by Manila, Heathrow and Jeddah. Sydney, Paris, Frankfurt, Manchester, Doha and Dublin completed the list of the 10 most popular routes.
During 2012 Etihad Airways beat its previous record for the number of passengers carried in a single day with 33,766 passengers flying on Saturday July 14.
The airline took delivery of seven new aircraft in 2012, with a further 14 new aircraft expected in 2013.
The airline has also announced it will start flights to at least three new destinations in 2013, Washington DC in March, Sao Paulo in June, and Ho Chi Minh City in October.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ president and CEO, said: “Etihad Airways has achieved significant expansion in 2012 and therefore it’s very satisfying to pass our target of flying more than 10 million passengers during a year for the first time.
“We have launched flights to six new destinations during the last year - Tripoli, Shanghai, Nairobi, Basra, Lagos, and Ahmedabad - which have all contributed to the 22 per cent increase in passenger numbers.”
The airline said in a statement that in 2012, Etihad Cargo will have carried a record 365,000 tonnes, which is 18 percent more than in 2011.
The passenger growth for Etihad Airways is mirrored by its equity partners.
By the end of 2012, airberlin is expected to have carried 33.4 million passengers, Virgin Australia 19.5 million passengers, Aer Lingus nearly 11 million passengers, and Air Seychelles 241,000 passengers.
Etihad Airways and its equity partners will have collectively carried more than 74 million passengers in 2012.