The carrier has judiciously used the capabilities of its alliance partners to achieve growth
The cargo division of Etihad Airways generates over $1 billion in annual revenues and is one of the world’s most successful air cargo operations, according to James Hogan, the airline’s president and chief executive.
Addressing the World Cargo Alliance (WCA) conference in Abu Dhabi, Hogan said key to Etihad Cargo’s success were innovativeness and service improvements and that profitability of carriers within the Etihad Airways Partner Alliance was being maximised through combining resources, networks and capabilities with customers also benefiting.
Etihad Cargo is recognised as the fifth-largest cargo operator in the world, a development reached through working in close harmony with Jet Airways Cargo, airberlin Cargo, Air Serbia, Alitalia and Air Seychelles Cargo, he said.
Hogan said Etihad Cargo accounted for 88 per cent of cargo imports, exports and transfers at Abu Dhabi International Airport in 2015, a year in which it carried 592,090 tonnes of freight and mail, up four per cent on 2014.
He noted it currently operates a freighter fleet of four Boeing 777F, three Boeing 747s, and four Airbus A330s. An additional Boeing 777 freighter is due to arrive soon with a further Airbus A330 freighter scheduled to arrive in 2017.
Hogan spoke about how the Middle East region continues to outperform global growth rates for cargo and plays an increasingly important role in the flow of world trade and goods, with its geographical importance enhanced as traffic shifts from traditional and established markets to emerging commercial centres in the Middle East, Asia, South America and Africa.
“Our hub of Abu Dhabi is at the crossroads of the world, and as a combination carrier, Etihad Airways is perfectly positioned to capitalise on the growing passenger traffic and the increasing volumes of cargo and goods transported between expanding and emerging markets,” he observed.
Etihad Cargo offers maindeck and bellyhold services and an extended reach across a network of passenger and cargo-only destinations.
Partnerships with other freighter operators, including Atlas Air and Avianca, provide strong support to the main operation, and the division continues to explore opportunities for co-operation with like-minded cargo operators.
The airline currently operates to 14 freighter-only destinations.