Etihad Airways – which announced earlier this month that it is to increase its number of flights to Australia – has announced a growth in passenger numbers.

Etihad Airways – which announced earlier this month that it is to increase its number of flights to Australia – has announced a growth in passenger numbers.

The carrier said that it had seen 4.4 million passengers up to the end of September 2008, up from 3.3 million the previous year.

This represented a growth of 33 per cent for the Abu Dhabi-based firm.

James Hogan, Etihad chief executive, said: “The significant investment we have put into our product and service this year is paying rich dividends and we remain well on track to achieve our target of flying six million passengers by the end of the year.”

The airline also introduced new flights to Beijing, Calicut, Madras and Minsk this year.

Meanwhile, its flights to Melbourne will begin in March 2009 and the number of flights to Sydney will increase to 11 as of this month.

Last month, Etihad told the American media that it intends to carry 25 million passengers a year by 2020, as well as doubling the number of cities it serves to 100.

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