India, China drive Etihad's record cargo tonnage in July

Etihad Airways will acquire 24 percent stake in India's Jet Airways, which is subject to regulatory approval.

Updated: Aug 30, 2013, 11:58 AM IST

Dubai: Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Cargo, part of carrier Etihad Airways, has posted record monthly uplift figures for July of 45,000 tonnes, a 37 percent increase as compared to the same period last year.

It had stood at 32,876 tonnes in July 2012.

The impressive tonnage figures for July were driven largely by increases in key export markets such as India, Hong Kong and China and demand into the Middle East for foodstuffs ahead of the fasting month of Ramadan, predominately from The Netherlands.

Etihad Airways, which holds equity investments in airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia and Aer Lingus, will acquire 49 percent stake in Air Serbia from January 2014. It will also acquire 24 percent stake in India's Jet Airways, which is subject to regulatory approval.

Etihad Airways' Chief Strategy and Planning Officer Kevin Knight said: "Over the past 12 months, we've strengthened our global cargo business, expanded operations across new and existing trade lanes, seen demand continue to grow; and in response, we've been able to add greater capacity via our growing passenger and freighter fleet."

The carrier's Abu Dhabi hub also posted record tonnage for July with 70,500 tonnes handled into, out of and through the cargo facilities, which are now part of Etihad's subsidiary organisation, Etihad Airport Services ? Cargo.

"Announced in May this year, the acquisition of the Abu Dhabi Cargo Company is an investment turning-point in terms of how we plan to grow cargo handling at our hub and drive better synergies and efficiencies for the benefit of our local and international customer base.

"To meet the future demand for cargo at our Abu Dhabi hub, planning is also underway to develop the East Midfield site for a new state-of-the-art integrated Cargo Terminal," Knight said.

The recent arrival of Etihad Cargo partner carriers into Abu Dhabi, where Etihad provides and receives complementary network feeds, also cements the importance of Abu Dhabi as key point of integration and partnership in global cargo networks, Knight said.

Etihad Cargo's freighters include three Boeing B777F, one Boeing 747-8F, one Boeing 747-400ERF, one Boeing 747-400F, three Airbus A330-200F, and a remaining freighter delivery ? an Airbus A330-200F will arrive in spring 2014.

The average age of Etihad Cargo's fleet is now just 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 (2) and KLM (1), respectively.

Etihad Airways began operations in 2003. It carried 10.3 million passengers in 2012. From its hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Etihad Airways offers flights to 94 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas.