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Etihad Airways passenger numbers grew by 23% to a record of almost 14.8 million last year.

The rise in passenger demand continued to outstrip the airline’s capacity increase as the fleet was expanded to 110 aircraft, including the addition of its first Airbus A380 and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

Codeshare and equity partner airlines contributed more than 3.5 million passengers onto the UAE’s carrier’s flights, an increase of 40% over the 2.5 million passengers in 2013.

The airline carried almost three quarters of the 19.9 million passengers who travelled through Abu Dhabi international airport in 2014. The combined total rose to 82% with the addition of the airline’s equity partners that operate flights into the UAE capital.

Etihad equity partners include Air Berlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Aer Lingus, Jet Airways and Virgin Australia. An investment is being formalised in Swiss-based Etihad Regional, operated by Darwin Airline while Etihad has taken a 49% stake worth €560 million in the new Altialia.

New codeshare agreements were launched with Air Europa, jetBlue, Philippine Airlines, GOL, SAS, Hong Kong Airlines and Aerolineas Argentinas, while existing codeshares with South African Airways, Alitalia and Jet Airways were expanded.

Etihad introduced 10 destinations to its route network in 2014, with new services to Medina, Jaipur, Los Angeles, Zurich, Perth, Rome, Yerevan, Phuket, San Francisco and Dallas. Frequencies were also increased on 23 existing routes.

President and chief executive James Hogan said: “Our business model, which focuses on organic network growth, codeshare partnerships and minority equity investments in other airlines, continued to yield positive results in 2014 and surpassed our double-digit targets for passenger and cargo growth.

“We enter 2015 as a stronger, more dynamic airline that will continue to enhance the growth of Abu Dhabi as one of the world’s emerging aviation hubs.”

Hogan added: “Highlighting the importance of the UK market to Etihad Airways, both London and Manchester maintained their positions in the airline’s listing of top 10 routes for 2014.

“Combined passenger numbers on the two routes increased by 8.5% year on year and popular destinations in the top 10 included Bangkok in Thailand, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and Sydney in