Etihad passenger numbers jump to 17.4 million in 2015
ABU DHABI - Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways said Tuesday it had carried 17.4 million passengers last year, up 17 percent from 2014.
CEO James Hogan said Etihad, the second largest carrier in the United Arab Emirates after Dubai's Emirates, was entering 2016 "as a stronger, more dynamic airline".
Launched in 2003, Etihad has been expanding rapidly and has bought shares in several smaller carriers.
Like other Gulf airlines it has come under fire from US and European carriers who accuse them of receiving subsidies from the oil-rich region's governments.
US officials opened investigations into the alleged subsidies last year following complaints from three major US carriers.
"We continue to face challenges, not least the protectionism of the major American and European legacy carriers. We will continue to fight to bring new competitive choice to travellers around the world," Hogan said.
Etihad has a fleet of 121 aircraft with an average age of 5.8 years.
It took delivery of 11 Airbus and four Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft in 2015.
It will receive 10 aircraft deliveries this year, including five Boeing 787-9s, three A380s and two Boeing 777-200s, it said.