Etihad cargo volumes take off

ETIHAD Cargo is celebrating achieving 27 per cent revenue growth during the first half of this year.
The freight division outperformed the global market, carrying 268,713 tonnes of air cargo and mail during the sixth-month period – up 25 per cent year-on-year – contributing significantly to the airline’s overall total revenue of US$3.2 billion, says a company statement.
Volumes were boosted with the launch of weekly African freighter services to Dar es Salaam and Entebbe, increased frequencies on existing freighter routes to Beijing, Almaty and Bangalore and additional bellyhold capacity to Munich, New York and Chengdu.
Incentives for freight customers included Etihad Guest Miles for booking shipments, complementing the existing Etihad CargoConnect programme, which rewards small-to-medium sized forwarders with (air) miles for their cargo business.
A Partner Elite programme was also launched in the second quarter to recognise larger key multinational customers.
The national flag carrier of the UAE remains on track to become a billion dollar business in 2014, the statement continues. 
Meanwhile, passenger numbers also grew 22 per cent to 6.7 million between January and June.
“At a time when the global airline industry has struggled with high fuel prices, intense competition and a slowdown in the cargo market, Etihad Airways has achieved record success, carrying more passengers and cargo to more destinations around the world, with our biggest fleet to date,” comments James Hogan, president and chief executive of Etihad Airways.
“We have ambitious plans to build on this momentum in the second half of 2014, with five more destinations being introduced into our global network and our A380 and B787 also entering service, reinforcing our status as a global market leader.”
Etihad’s global route network expanded to 98 destinations, following the launch of Medina flights in the first quarter and new services to Jaipur, Zurich and Los Angeles in the second, whilst frequencies increased on five existing routes, including Moscow and Cochin.
By the end of this year, the total number of destinations will rise to 103, with more services including Rome, Perth, Phuket and Dallas.
During the period, the carrier increased its fleet size to 102, with 23 additional aircraft.
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