Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways said its net profit tripled last year as the fast growing carrier added routes and code-share arrangements in its expanding rivalries with other Gulf airlines.

Government-owned Etihad said that 2012's net profit jumped to $42m, compared to $14m in 2011. Revenue rose 17% to $4.8 billion.

Etihad began flying to six new destinations last year, including Shanghai and Kenya's capital, Nairobi. 

The airline operates 10 services per week between Dublin and its home base in Abu Dhabi. The Irish service started in July 2007 and the airline owns almost 3% of Aer Lingus.

Eithad has aggressively sought to expand cost-share agreements and purchase stakes in foreign airlines such as Airberlin and Virgin Australia.

The carrier is locked in deepening competition with Gulf rivals Qatar Airways and Dubai-based Emirates.

"This has been a game-changing year," said Etihad chief executive James Hogan. He said cost-control measures and ongoing investments helped boost the airline's profits during a challenging global economic environment.