The national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, Etihad Airways, has said it intends to carry 25 million passengers a year by 2020.

The national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, Etihad Airways, has said it intends to carry 25 million passengers a year by 2020.

Its ambitious plans were revealed to the American media during a conference in New York, where chief executive James Hogan also said that Etihad plans to double the number of cities it serves to 100.

“Our projections to 2020 reflect that order and the scale of our ambitions, closely aligned to the growth of Abu Dhabi as an economic and tourism powerhouse,” he commented.

Spokesperson Leo Seaton also told Emirates Business that the airline will increase its fleet size to 42 by the end of 2008 and 150 by 2020.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Etihad had carried 1.6 million people on flights during June, July and August, an increase of 46 per cent on the same period in 2007.

Etihad – Arabic for united – was established in 2003 and offers services to 48 destinations, including 17 a week from London Heathrow.

This includes flights to South Africa, India and Thailand.

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