Mar 01, 2016: Etihad Cargo has taken delivery of a new Boeing 777 freighter which will enable the freight arm of Etihad Airways to continue its expansion plans into 2016. The aircraft becomes the 11th freighter in the fleet and will enter commercial service on March 1, 2016.
Etihad Cargo announced it would take delivery of the two additional aircraft at the Dubai Air Show last year, and they form part of the $67 billion fleet order that was made in 2013 for 199 aircraft. The two additional freighter aircraft are valued at $637 million at list prices and the second freighter is expected to arrive in Abu Dhabi in March.
Both new aircraft will come equipped with nine seats allowing Etihad Cargo to carry additional grooms as part of its Sky Stables programme, which supports high value equine movement. They will be the first aircraft in the Etihad Cargo fleet to be equipped in this way. Sky Stables is supervised by dedicated managers, supported by handling teams both in the air and on the ground, with horses currently being moved to destinations in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas.
Kevin Knight, chief strategy and planning officer for Etihad Airways, said, “The additional freighter gives us the opportunity to expand our specialist cargo services and grow our market share. Over the last year, we have been expanding into South America, Africa and Asia and the new aircraft will enhance capacity and enable us to increase frequency across our scheduled network, but importantly also increase our charter opportunities to growth areas of the world.”
During 2015, Etihad Cargo enhanced its global reach by offering bellyhold capacity on Etihad Airways’ six new passenger destinations to cities including Edinburgh, Madrid and Kolkata. The airline already operates scheduled cargo services to the following freighter-only destinations that include: Hahn, San Juan, Bogota, Guangzhou, Dakar, Douala, Eldoret, Hanoi, Houston, Nouakchott, Sharjah and Tbilisi.
In its existing fleet, Etihad Cargo currently operates three Boeing 777Fs, three Boeing 747s and four Airbus A330s. The Cargo division of the national airline carrier of the UAE currently serves 14 freighter-only destinations worldwide from its Abu Dhabi hub and has freighter capacity on Etihad Airways’ fleet of over 100 passenger aircraft.