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Etihad Cargo's volumes in July approached 33,000 tonnes. Sammy Dallal / The National
Etihad Cargo's volumes in July approached 33,000 tonnes. Sammy Dallal / The National

Etihad flies into record books for July cargo

Etihad Cargo yesterday posted record volumes for last month as Middle East carriers led global growth in air freight.

Etihad Cargo yesterday posted record volumes for last month as Middle East carriers led global growth in air freight.

Volumes approached 33,000 tonnes, an increase of 18 per cent on the same month last year, the cargo division of Etihad Airways said.

The numbers follow strong first-half figures at Abu Dhabi Airports Company (Adac), which reported a total of 268,157 tonnes were shipped through the airport in the first six months of the year, a 15.7 per cent increase on the same period last year.

"We've seen a good recovery in business from Europe after the second quarter," said Kevin Knight, the chief planning and strategy officer at Etihad.

"Business across and through the Middle East has remained strong into the Holy Month of Ramadan."

Global air freight has been driven down in recent years by rising fuel prices and the sovereign debt woes plaguing Europe but volumes have stabilised in the past few months.

A slowdown in China and India is now the biggest obstacle to growth in the industry.

But total revenues for Etihad Cargo were up 4 per cent last month compared with June and up 8 per cent on the same month last year.

DHL Express - a global courier firm - last week also said demand had been high in the UAE for its services and it had yet to suffer a slowdown in Europe.

For Etihad, the growth in freight volumes is matched by the overall growth in flights and passenger numbers through Abu Dhabi International Airport.

The airport welcomed 7 million passengers during the first half of the year, up 22.8 per cent compared with the same period last year. In addition, aircraft movements increased 3.6 per cent to a total 58,937.

Adac said increased Etihad, Air Berlin and Lufthansa cargo volumes in particular had driven the growth in cargo, which grew by 29 per cent in June compared with a year earlier.

Mr Knight said new routes, including a new passenger service to Lagos and a new freighter service to Dammam, had helped improve Etihad's overall offering.

"Also, the capability of our fleet with the addition of the 747-400 freighter has enhanced our overall schedule flexibility and helped support significant project work in what was also a record month for our charter team," he added.

Globally, freight volumes increased 0.8 per cent in June compared with a year earlier, the International Air Transport Association said last week.

It added the weak global picture masked strong growth for Middle East airlines of 17.9 per cent, against a 14.2 per cent increase in capacity.

Other Middle East airlines have also reported high cargo volumes this year.

Saudi Airlines Cargo said last week it carried 251,000 tonnes of cargo in the first half of the year, a 26 per cent increase compared with the same period last year.

Freight volumes at the Dubai World Central-Al Maktoum International Airport jumped 153 per cent to 56,271 tonnes in the second quarter of the year compared with the corresponding period last year.

 

rjones@thenational.ae

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