KARACHI - Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, continued its industry-leading growth in the first quarter of 2012, with a 28 per cent rise in revenue to $989 million over the corresponding period in 2011 and passenger numbers soaring by 500,000 to 2.4 million, says a Press release.

Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan, said: “Despite the tough economic times we believe our business model of organic network growth combined with codeshare partnerships and strategic equity investments will enable us to continue to ensure sustainable profitability. Our seat factor has now hit a record high.”

Etihad has announced a daily service to its first South America destination and new services to Vietnam, Basra and Lagos, with increased flight frequencies to Düsseldorf, Bangkok, Cairo, Kuwait, and Dammam. Etihad now has a worldwide network that stretches across 84 cities in 54 countries and 6 continents.

Etihad Airways will soon take delivery of seven new aircraft in 2012 – three Airbus A320s and four Boeing B777s. The carrier’s fleet will have grown to 71 aircraft by year’s end. Two new freighters were also ordered in the first quarter for delivery in 2013 and 2014.