Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad Airways reported revenues of $1.1bn in the third quarter of this year, a 39 per cent rise on the same period in 2010.

Etihad Airways also recorded an 18 per cent increase in passenger traffic, to 2.2 million, in what proved to be the airline’s strongest ever third quarter.

“Despite the continuing challenges of high fuel prices and economic downturn in many of the markets in which Etihad operates, we are seeing strong growth in all our key commercial indicators,” says James Hogan, chief executive officer of Etihad Airways.

Popular routes included those to New York, Chicago and Toronto in North America, Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Colombo, Manila, Sydney and Melbourne in the Asia-Pacific as well as Cairo, London, Athens and Istanbul.

The airline plans to begin flights to six new destinations including the Maldives on 1 November, the Seychelles on 2 November, Chengdu in China on 15 December, Dusseldorf on 16 December, Shanghai on 1 March 2012 and Nairobi on 1 April.

“Our clear target is to break even in 2011 and this is another big step in the right direction for us. We are well on track to delivering a continuing financial return to our shareholder.”

Etihad has added six aircraft to its fleet over the past year and is due to take delivery of another seven planes in 2012. The new aircraft includes four Boeing 777s and three Airbus A320s.

In terms of its freight business, Etihad Crystal Cargo also performed well in the third quarter, with revenue at $168m. It also recorded a 16 per cent rise in tonnage volumes to 77,623 tonnes in the third quarter.