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A 29% year-on-year hike in revenues to $1.8 billion was recorded by Etihad Airways in the third quarter of the year.

Passenger numbers in the three months to September grew by 30% to 3.9 million.

The growth in passenger demand and revenue during the three months outstripped the airline’s capacity increase, highlighting the strength of its long-term growth strategy.

The United Arab Emirates carrier said it remains on track to achieve its strongest ever annual results, having carried 10.5 million passengers and almost 415,000 tonnes of cargo between January and September 2014.

Organic growth was supported by codeshare and equity partnerships, delivering an estimated 1.1 million passengers onto Etihad Airways flights in the quarter - up 41% year on year - and contributing revenue of $352 million, or 27% of the airline’s passenger revenue.

The airline is pumping €560 million into ailing Alitalia to acquire a 49% shareholding in the Italian airline, a 75% interest in Alitalia’s loyalty company, which operates the MilleMiglia frequent flier program, and five pairs of slots at Heathrow, which will be leased back to Alitalia.

Etihad President and chief executive James Hogan said: “Our focus on organic growth, codeshare partnerships and minority investments in other airlines has continued to produce strong results, despite the prevalence of industry challenges such as volatile oil prices, economic and political instability, overcapacity in the market, and access constraints.

“We are confident about sustaining our profitability in 2014 and there are a number of important milestones in the final quarter, including the entry into service of Etihad Airways’ ground-breaking Airbus A380 and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in our striking new livery.

“These aircraft will feature our next generation first, business and economy class products, together with The Residence by Etihad, the world’s first three-room private cabin.

“In addition, we will introduce Phuket, San Francisco and Dallas into our network over the remainder of this year.”

Following the launch of services to Medina, Jaipur, Los Angeles and Zurich in the first half of 2014, the third quarter included the start of Yerevan, Perth and Rome services, while frequencies increased on eight existing routes, including Dublin, Athens and Chennai.

The airline’s global route network includes 110 destinations, with flights launching to Phuket this month, San Francisco in November and Dalla