A summer of growth is planned by Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways which has expanded services to the US, Europe and China in its sights.
Etihad targets US, Europe and China with new flights
The Abu Dhabi airline will receive two Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, with seating for 412 passengers, as well as three Airbus A330-300s, Etihad said, allowing it to offer daily services to 74 per cent of its flight network of 66 destinations by October.
"Our focus is on offering at least a daily service on key business routes - and wherever possible, a double-daily service - to attract a greater share of the corporate travel market," said James Hogan, the chief executive of Etihad.
In addition, Etihad plans to open two new destinations this year, Mr Hogan said, without disclosing further details.
Later in the year, the airline will also receive a new Boeing 777 freighter and an Airbus A320 aircrat, giving it flexibility in its cargo and short-haul operations.
Much of the capacity increases will focus on Europe and take effect between June and August, including Paris, which will grow from 10 flights per week to a double daily service, and Manchester, which will move from daily to 10 flights per week. Its Geneva operations will increase from five flights per week to daily, while Milan will grow from five flights per week to daily and Brussels will increase from six to eight flights per week.
Etihad will also: Move from five to daily flights on its Beijing services, while its Chicago route will offer more seating when it introduces one of its new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
By the third quarter, Etihad will have 62 passenger and cargo aircraft in operation, it said, as this year becomes a major turning point for the airline and its plans to break-even, Mr Hogan said. "2011 will be one of the most important years in Etihad's history as we add depth and scale to our operation," he said.