Etihad Airways sees 29% revenue surge in Q3

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ABU DHABI (Oct 14): Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways said Tuesday it posted a 29 percent surge in revenue to $1.8 billion in the third quarter, thanks to rising numbers of passengers and cargo volume.

The fast-growing carrier said 3.9 million passengers flew with Etihad between July and September, a 30 percent increase on the same period in 2013.

Etihad cargo also transported 144,498 tonnes of freight and mail, a nine percent rise on last year's third quarter last year.

The government-owned carrier did not say whether it registered any profits or losses.

"We are confident about sustaining our profitability in 2014," Etihad chief James Hogan said in a statement.

He said the carrier's codeshare partnerships and minority investments in other airlines have continued to produce strong results despite "industry challenges such as volatile oil prices, economic and political instability, overcapacity in the market, and access constraints".

The company is turning Abu Dhabi into a major travel hub between the West and Asia and Australasia.

Etihad carried 11.5 million passengers last year, earning $6.1 billion in revenue, of which it kept $62 million as profit.

The company agreed in June to acquire 49 percent of Italy's debt-laden Alitalia, widening its reach into the European market.

Launched in 2003, Etihad is expanding rapidly and has bought minor shares in several smaller carriers around the world as it competes with larger Gulf rivals Emirates and Qatar Airways.

Etihad owns 29 percent of Air Berlin, 40 percent of Air Seychelles, 19.9 percent of Virgin Australia and three percent of Irish carrier Aer Lingus.

It also has a 24-percent stake in India's Jet Airways.