The UAE’s national carrier Etihad Airways reported 17.5 per cent growth in passengers in 2015 compared to the previous year, arising from transporting 17.4 million passengers on 97,400 flights.

The airline’s cargo volume also rose by 4 per cent to reach 592,000 tonnes of freight and mail carried throughout 2015.

According to a company statement, the rate of passenger growth in 2015 exceeded the airline’s capacity increase, which validates the strength of its long-term growth strategy.

Etihad took delivery of four A380s, six A321 and one A320 in 2015, and four Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft in 2015, in addition to an undisclosed leased capacity. These brought Etihad’s in-service fleet by end 2015 to 121 aircraft.

It expects to receive 10 aircraft in 2016 including five Boeing 787-9s, three A380s and two Boeing 777-200 freighters.

Etihad accounted for 75 per cent of the total passengers who travelled to and from the Abu Dhabi International airport (ADIA) in 2015. This share further rises to 84 per cent if passengers travelling with its equity partners are included.

The ADIA is currently upgrading its IT infrastructure in anticipation of further growth in passenger and cargo traffic.