Abu Dhabi's Etihad flying high as revenues rise 19 percent

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Etihad Airways said passenger revenues rose 19 percent in the first quarter as Abu Dhabi's flagship carrier expanded globally through partnership deals.

The UAE carrier, which has stakes in Air Berlin and Virgin Australia, competes with Gulf rivals such as Dubai's Emirates and Qatar Airways, which are also extending their reach into Europe, Asia and other markets.

Passenger revenues at Etihad totalled $900 million in the first quarter of 2013, compared with $758 million a year ago, the Abu Dhabi-based airline said on Sunday.

Cargo revenues rose 17 percent to $193 million in the quarter. The unlisted Abu Dhabi carrier provided no quarterly profit figures in the statement. Its 2012 net profit tripled to $42 million.

The average seat occupancy, or seat factor, was 80.5 percent, four percentage points higher than the previous year, despite a 12 percent increase in capacity, the statement said.

"Our Q1 2013 results have again outstripped global trends, with our strongest ever first-quarter results for passenger revenue," James Hogan, the airline's chief executive said in a statement.

Revenue from code-share and equity partners jumped by 34 percent to $182 million in the first three months of the year and represented 20 percent of total revenue in the quarter.

Etihad Airways under an equity alliance holds stakes in AirBerlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia and Aer Lingus.

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