Etihad Cargo is to introduce a twice-weekly pure freight service to Sydney from June as part of a significant expansion of the fast-growing operation’s network. Etihad’s inclusion of Sydney comes as Qantas Freight and Emirates’ SkyCargo strengthen their positions in the Australian market under their alliance.
Sydney becomes one of eight destinations in the worldwide Etihad Cargo network.
Kevin Knight, chief strategy and planning officer at Etihad, said: “Our cargo network continues to expand, and with the addition of new main deck operations to Riyadh, Sydney and Vienna we are significantly adding to the scale of our global operations and linking many parts of the world via our Abu Dhabi hub.”
The new service to Sydney comes as Etihad adds its first 747-8 freighter to the fleet, under an agreement with Atlas Air. The full liveried Etihad Cargo aircraft will be the largest in the carrier’s fleet, offering a payload capacity of 138 tonness and a range of more than 8,000km.
This is the second such agreement between Atlas Air and Etihad, complementing an existing lease for a 747-400F. The delivery will take Etihad Cargo’s freighter fleet to nine aircraft. From June the airline will operate three B777Fs, one 747-400ERF, one 747-400F and three Airbus A330-200Fs.
In 2012, Etihad Cargo delivered tonnage growth of 19 per cent on the back of a capacity increase of 14 per cent in available tonnage kilometres.