Etihad Cargo, the air freight division of Etihad Airways, has added Washington to its global cargo network.
It has also increased the frequency of flights to Hong Kong courtesy of strategic partner Air Seychelles.
Washington is now Etihad Cargo's fifth destination in North America, and the news follows the launch of Etihad's passenger services from Abu Dhabi to Washington-Dulles Airport last month. The freight consignments will fly as bellyhold cargo, aboard the passenger aircraft.
Air Seychelles, in which Etihad owns a 40 per cent stake, launched its first passenger service to Hong Kong via Abu Dhabi earlier in March.
"With the addition of bellyhold capacity to Washington, and an overall increase in cargo capacity to Hong Kong, we believe these new operations will strengthen cargo services both east and west for our customers," said Kevin Knight, the chief strategy and planning officer at Etihad Airways.
The airline's announcement follows the release of International Air Transport Association (Iata) air cargo figures for February, released last week, which showed Middle East carriers again beating an overall global rise in freight carried of just 2 per cent.
"Middle Eastern airlines were once again the strongest performers, seeing a 12.3 per cent rise in air freight volumes in February compared to a year ago," said Iata. "Airlines in this region continue to benefit from increased trade activity with emerging economies in both Asia and Africa."
Etihad Cargo already offers daily bellyhold cargo capacity from Chicago and New York to Abu Dhabi, and three times a week from Toronto to Abu Dhabi. In addition, Etihad Cargo offers a twice-weekly dedicated freighter service from Houston to the UAE capital.
The additional bellyhold capacity offered by the new Air Seychelles service between Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong will strengthen the already established four-times-a-week Etihad Cargo freighter service between the two cities.
Etihad Cargo offers both bellyhold and full freighter capacity to Beijing and Shanghai, bellyhold capacity to Chengdu, and a freighter operation to Guangzhou.
Etihad Cargo serves 86 destinations internationally and operates a fleet of two Boeing B777F, one Boeing 747-400ERF, one Boeing 747-400F, two Airbus A330-200F and one Airbus A300-600F. The carrier will take delivery of three additional freighters this year and next, along with one Boeing B777F and two Airbus A330-200F.