Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Airways, today announced a much-anticipated refresh of its global freighter network that will be implemented commencing 1 October, 2018, marking a key milestone in its strategy to simplify its route network and maximise freighter-to-bellyhold flows.
This means redeploying freighter capacity on core trade lanes that connect its hub in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and select global markets in Asia, Europe and the United States to meet growing customer demand.
The new freighter network will see the airline increase existing Boeing 777 freighter frequencies into key markets in China and India, adding one weekly rotation each into Shanghai (x5) and Chennai (x3). The carrier also reinforced its commitment to customers in its core markets as it continues to service Amsterdam (x3), Frankfurt (x3), Columbus Ohio (x3), Hong Kong (x2), Hanoi (x2), Mumbai (x2), Dhaka (x2), East Midlands (x2), Dammam (x2), Delhi (x1), Bangalore (x1) and Chittagong (x1) on a weekly basis.
Abdulla Mohamed Shadid, Etihad Airways Managing Director Cargo and Logistics, said: "Etihad Cargo continues to cement its position as a major player in the international air cargo market, leveraging Abu Dhabi's strategic positioning at the centre of the world's busiest trade lanes to serve these key markets. Our freighters are central to this strategy, and the new network will ensure we maximise the cargo flows between main deck cargo and belly-hold capacity on our strong fleet of passenger jets that service our global network."
To meet seasonal peak in demand, Etihad Cargo is dedicating an aircraft for ad-hoc charter flying during the fourth quarter, and has started taking bookings ahead of the busy month of October.
A few stations have been removed from the new Etihad Cargo freighter network, the largest of which was Nairobi, citing weakening demand and market behaviours that rendered other core markets more attractive to serve.
The fourth quarter will also see Etihad Cargo offer customers incremental lower-deck cargo capacity to and from Abu Dhabi and the key markets of Singapore, Toronto, Cairo, Bangalore, and for the first time will also offer its customers cargo capacity into and out of Barcelona starting 28 November, when Etihad Airways launches its first direct service to the Spanish city from Abu Dhabi.
"This network strategy is yet another step in the continuous evolution of Etihad Cargo's service offering to strengthen our customer value proposition while delivering value to the Etihad Aviation Group," added Shadid. "It further compliments our ongoing efforts to maximise premium product verticals such as our SkyStables (equine), FlyCulture (arts and music) and FastTrack (mail and courier) products, while prioritising investments in digital and physical infrastructure to reaffirm our place as a true air cargo partner of choice".