Etihad plans more partnerships as it pencils in double-digit growth

SYDNEY Tue Aug 6, 2013 10:19pm EDT

SYDNEY Aug 7 (Reuters) - Etihad Airways, which has aggressively expanded its global reach through codeshares and minority stake investments, expects to build alliances in China and the Americas as the Abu Dhabi-based carrier targets more double-digit growth in the years ahead.

"We will continue to work with other airlines to broaden our network," said Etihad CEO James Hogan on the sidelines of the Australia Pacific Aviation Summit in Sydney on Wednesday. "With China, we need to build (a partnership). South America and America, we need to build (a partnership)."

Etihad has been nurturing its international network over the past 10 years as it competes with regional rivals Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways. Etihad, whose annual net profit tripled in 2012, holds stakes in Virgin Australia , Air Berlin, Aer Lingus and Air Seychelles.

Etihad is awaiting final regulatory approval for its planned $379 million stake purchase in India's Jet Airways.

The state-backed carrier said last week that it plans to buy a 49 percent stake in Serbia's loss-making JAT Airways.

"We continue to see double-digit growth as we look over the horizon," Hogan said.

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