The chief executive of Etihad Airways has revealed that 2008 was a particularly successful year for the carrier.

The chief executive of Etihad Airways has revealed that 2008 was a particularly successful year for the carrier.

James Hogan announced in a statement that Etihad served more than six million passengers last year, an increase of 34 per cent on the corresponding figures from 2007.

The airline also increased its fleet size to 42 from 33 aircraft.

Mr Hogan commented: “Despite the impact of the global economic downturn, Etihad performed extremely well in 2008 and we hit our target of flying more than six million passengers … which is an impressive achievement in just five years of operations.”

In December, Etihad revealed that its passenger reward programme which launched in 2006 had achieved 500,000 members.

Etihad was launched in 2003 with its first flight to Al Ain and has since provided services to almost 14 million passengers going on more than 87,000 flights.

It has also won over 40 awards for its services.

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