Etihad outlines expansion plans

ETIHAD Crystal Cargo is running its new 777F on six-weekly Abu Dhabi (UAE) to China to India to Abu Dhabi routes, senior vice-president Roy Kinnear has told Air Cargo News.

The carrier has been reaching out into new markets, including Kazakhstan, where it launched an A330 freighter operation at the end of July.

“Part of our interest in terms of developing trade and commercial ties between the UAE and Kazakhstan has been to launch dedicated freighter route, to complement our existing passenger operations. We believe the new dedicated cargo route will be successful and that there is sufficient demand in our network for this to be a profitable route,” Kinnear said.

“Having analysed the demand into Almaty and growth, we believe there was scope for this new A330 Freighter operation and we will review additional frequency in the future based on performance.”

Etihad has not tapped into neighbouring Russia as of yet, with the exception of cargo capacity on Etihad’s narrowbody passenger services into Moscow.

“Russia continues to grow as an import market, and in time we anticipate a growing export market. It would be wrong to over generalise about Russia as a whole as each region and metropolis has its own distinct economic, sociological and cultural background.”

The major obstacles for airfreight in this region, Kinnear pointed out, are the current directional imbalances with imports outweighing airfreight compatible exports.

Etihad Crystal Cargo grew 32 per cent in the first half of this year on the back of a 21 per cent capacity increase.

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