James Hogan, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said the airline will add three new aircraft to its fleet and three new routes in 2010. This will bring the Abu Dhabi based carrier’s fleet strength to 55 and its total number of routes to 57. Two of the new aircraft will be for passengers and the third will be for cargo. All aircraft are being supplied by Airbus. Two new routes will be launched in Japan and a third will be launched in Sri Lanka.
Regarding the possibility that Abu Dhabi may launch a budget airline, Hogan clarified that “Etihad was not planning to launch any budget airline in the near future or was not intending to join any initiative that Abu Dhabi may be looking at.” He said the airline is optimistic about business prospects for 2010, and hopes to achieve load factors of 76 or 77 percent. Hogan said he is excited about prospects for growth in the Indian and Chinese markets. Etihad Airways carried slightly less than 7 million passengers last year and hopes to carry more than 7 million passengers this year.