Nov 27, 2019: Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) is set to be turned into a state-of-the-art global air cargo center of excellence, thanks to a strategic project undertaken by Abu Dhabi Airports and Etihad Cargo.
Abu Dhabi Airports and the cargo and logistics services arm of the Etihad Aviation Group will implement a multi-phased cargo infrastructure development strategy, starting with the upgrade of Etihad’s existing air cargo terminal facilities on the Southside airport perimeters.
As a result, Eithad Cargo will get a future home, a new state-of-the-art air cargo terminal in the East Midfield section of the airport, an area designated by Abu Dhabi Airports for future integrated cargo, logistics and integrator activities.
The plan will be implemented in phases. In the first phase, the Southside Etihad cargo facilities will be upgraded and is expected to be completed between fall 2019 and end of Q3 2020. As part of this phase, the RFS loading docks will be enhanced with levelers, insulation and floor works for faster and more efficient loading with stricter temperature controls, increased storage space and additional build-up and breakdown zones to improve production workflow, and upgraded cool chain facilities for both its fresh and pharma handling and storage operations.
Tony Douglas, group chief executive officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said, “Today’s announcement is a major milestone in the development of Etihad Cargo’s logistics strategy that will see our hub continue to grow as one of the world’s most important trade facilitators connecting East and West. The immediate investment in the Southside terminal will deliver a step change in the efficiency and capability of our existing facilities while the announcement of the development of a new facility reinforces Etihad’s commitment to develop Abu Dhabi as a world class hub for the logistics of the future.”
The first phase is expected to increase efficiency and productivity in the existing facilities to support air cargo growth at Abu Dhabi International Airport for the coming five years. It will also enhance Etihad’s pharmaceutical logistics capability through a dedicated Southside Pharma Terminal, adding 3,500 square metres of space for temperature-controlled handling and storage across both 2-8 degrees Celsius and 15-25 degrees Celsius categories. This further complements Etihad Cargo’s recent success in the domain, having become the first airline in the Middle East to gain CEIV Pharma certification for both its airline and terminal operations in January.
Abu Dhabi Airports and Etihad Cargo will also designate a plot of land at the East Midfield site, for which they will invite expressions of interest to bid for the design and construction of Etihad Cargo’s state-of-the-art, next generation facility. The facility will be designed to handle incremental UAE import and export demand, boost Etihad’s growing cargo network flows as well as cater for the significant rise in E-commerce and express mail and cargo operations.
Bryan Thompson, chief executive officer of Abu Dhabi Airports, commented, “Geographically, Abu Dhabi is situated at the heart of the east to west trade routes. Additionally, the transport and logistics fabric of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is well planned and structured to create undeniable potential to grow the cargo traffic exponentially. Today we are putting in place the right foundations and frameworks for our future cargo activity, which in a few years will re-shape this industry for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is the future’s cargo hub for the region and the world.”
In addition, Abu Dhabi Airports is setting the groundworks for the first phase of a bonded, non-bonded and free zone area adjoining the airport designated as 'Al Falah Free Zone', which it will develop as a prime location for E-commerce fulfilment and Logistics warehousing. The goal is to transform the nation’s capital into a globally recognised, multi-modal cargo hub driving sustainable economic growth in the Emirate.