Etihad Airwaysâ€™ President and Chief Executive Officer James Hogan spoke in depth about changes in the global cargo industry, as he addressed more than 1,200 delegates at the World Cargo Alliance (WCA) Conference that took place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from March 10-13.
In his opening address, Hogan spoke about how the Etihad Airways Partner alliance increases the airlineâ€™s strength and depth in cargo operations. By combining aircraft fleets and networks, Etihad Cargo is recognised as the fifth largest cargo operator in the world by working in close harmony with Jet Airways Cargo, airberlin Cargo, Air Serbia, Alitalia and Air Seychelles Cargo.
The Etihad Cargo division of Etihad Airways generates over US $1 billion in annual revenues and is one of the worldâ€™s most successful air cargo operations. It accounted for 88 per cent of cargo imports, exports and transfers at Abu Dhabi International Airport in 2015, a year in which it carried 592,090 tonnes of freight and mail, up four per cent on 2014.
Etihad Cargo currently operates a freighter fleet of four Boeing 777F, three Boeing 747s, and four Airbus A330s. An additional Boeing 777 freighter is due to arrive
this month with a further Airbus A330 freighter scheduled to arrive in 2017.
Hogan spoke about how the Middle East region continues to outperform global growth rates for cargo and plays an increasingly important role in the flow of world trade and goods, with its geographical importance enhanced as traffic shifts from traditional and established markets to emerging commercial centres in the Middle East, Asia, South America and Africa.
He said: â€œOur hub of Abu Dhabi is at the crossroads of the world, and as a combination carrier, Etihad Airways is perfectly positioned to capitalise on the growing passenger traffic, and the increasing volumes of cargo and goods transported between expanding and emerging markets.â€ Etihad Cargo offers maindeck and bellyhold services and an extended reach across a network of passenger and cargo-only destinations.
â€œEtihad Cargo has grown into a billion dollar business and represents a significant part of our business by focussing on dedicated services and innovative products to provide a winning customer proposition. By working with our partners, we will continue to maximise the profitability of each carrier by combining resources, networks and capabilities for the benefit of all of our customers,â€ said Mr Hogan.
Partnerships with other freighter operators, including Atlas Air and Avianca, provide strong support to the main operation, and the division is continuing to explore opportunities for co-operation with like-minded cargo operators. The airline currently operates to 14 freighter-only destinations that include BogotÃ¡, Brazzaville, Chittagong, Djibouti, Dubai World Central, Eldoret, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Houston, Sharjah and Tbilisi.