Etihad Airways carried a record cargo load to and from Abu Dhabi last month.
Etihad Cargo, a unit of the Abu Dhabi airline, posted record monthly uplift figures of 45,175 tonnes in September from 31,826 tonnes in the same month last year, a 42 per cent increase, the airline said.
“This is the biggest monthly tonnage Etihad Cargo has ever carried across its network,” said Kevin Knight, Etihad’s chief strategy and planning officer.
“That’s a reflection of improved capacity utilisation on our freighter fleet, more cargo in the bellyhold of our passenger aircraft, greater synergies with our global partners, and, importantly, a well-performing charter business.” Strong demand from Hong Kong, China, India and Germany contributed to Etihad Cargo carrying the record loads.
The carrier flew 77 charter missions September, up 185 per cent on September 2012, when it flew 27 charters.
Significant charter operations included routing 200 tonnes of humanitarian and food aid from Abu Dhabi to Ouagadougou in the West African nation of Burkina Faso, and transporting racing cars and spares from the United Kingdom and Italy to Singapore, then onwards to Seoul, South Korea. The airline also performed a number of VIP cargo charters.
“A key driver in cargo continuing to perform well is down to us getting closer to our customers, understanding their challenges, and coming to them with competitive solutions, on routings they want, while adding value to their businesses,” Mr Knight said. “Looking ahead to the end of Q4, we expect to see higher than average seasonal load factors.”
Etihad Cargo’s freighters include three Boeing B777F, three Airbus A330-200F, three Boeing 747 planes and an Airbus A330-200F scheduled to arrive next spring.The average age of Etihad Cargo’s fleet is now 3.3 years, and 1.3 years for Etihad Cargo’s six owned freighters. The airline’s three Boeing 747 freighters are leased from Atlas Air and KLM.