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Etihad Posts Record Passenger Revenue on Partner Contributions

Etihad Airways said growth from codeshare and equity partners raised passenger revenue to a record $1.03 billion in the third quarter as more than 3 million people flew with the third-biggest Gulf carrier.

Total third-quarter revenue rose 11 percent to $1.41 billion, with the contribution from alliance partners jumping 36 percent to $247 million, the Abu-Dhabi based carrier said today in a statement. Partnerships accounted for 23 percent of passenger revenue.

“In addition to our own growth in 3Q, we continued to develop our partnership strategy,” Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said in the statement. Hogan said Etihad progressed its plans to acquire 24 percent of Jet Airways in the first offshore investment in an Indian airline under the country’s Foreign Direct Investment legislation.

Etihad won approval from the Indian government to invest in Jet Airways on Oct. 4, paving the way for the first share sale by a carrier in India to a foreign airline since restrictions were eased last year. The approval will result in a $332 million investment. Etihad has 46 codeshare agreements, expanding its virtual network to 375 destinations, it said.

The carrier’s network of equity partners, an unusual trend among major airlines, which tend to focus more on global alliances and joint ventures, will probably be expanded after Etihad agreed to invest in Air Serbia and increased its share in Virgin Australia to 17 percent from 11 percent.

Etihad’s load factor -- a measure of seat occupancy -- was unchanged at 81 percent, while cargo revenue gained 39 percent to $244 million.

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