Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Airways, has announced its winter schedule and network plan will come into effect on September 29, with new weekly freighter services marking an increased presence in the United States of America and other strategic global cargo markets.
Leading Etihad Cargo’s annual refresh is the enhancement of its freighter services between Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) and Columbus, Ohio. A weekly service, now via Europe to Ohio’s Rickenbacker International Airport (LCK), will be supported by an extensive road feeder network between LCK and other US destinations including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Philadelphia. The outbound flight will operate via Frankfurt (FRA) and return via Amsterdam Schipol (AMS). Etihad Cargo plans to introduce a second weekly flight to LCK, opening up an additional European gateway before the end of the year.
The LCK freighters provide the perfect main deck complement to existing bellyhold capacity on Etihad’s direct widebody services between Abu Dhabi and major US gateways including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C.
Supporting Etihad Cargo’s operations across North America and reinforcing its commitment to the market, Christel Alaimo has assumed the role of Area Manager – North America with immediate effect. Mrs. Alaimo joins Etihad Cargo from Flexport, where she held the role of Senior Manager - Airfreight for the Americas. Previously, Alaimo has held similar senior roles for various reputable international carriers in the US.
Abdulla Mohamed Shadid, Etihad Aviation Group’s Managing Director Cargo and Logistics Services, said: “As a strategic addition to our US team, Christel will significantly boost our Stateside operation as an invaluable in-market resource to drive growth across North America and spearhead plans to provide additional connectivity to our customers across the US.”
Etihad Cargo’s updated freighter network also introduces a weekly Boeing 777 Freighter service into Johannesburg’s Tambo International Airport (JNB) from October 5, which establishes the South African city as a seasonal African gateway ‘hub’ for trade flows of perishables and other goods to and from Europe and Asia. The new JNB freighter complements existing bellyhold capacity on daily widebody operations between Abu Dhabi and Johannesburg, Cairo, Casablanca, Rabat and Lagos.
Additional bellyhold capacity has also been introduced through increased flights between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow Airport (LHR) with a fourth daily frequency confirmed from October 27, as well as tactical aircraft changes from A380 to Boeing 777 on the second daily frequency to Charles De Gaulle International Airport (CDG) in Paris. Etihad Airways will also replace its current Airbus 330 operations on routes to Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK), Bangalore’s Kempegowda International Airport (BLR) and Johannesburg (JNB), with a Boeing 787 to further increase additional cargo capacity.
“This season’s network review has allowed us to make key changes to our schedules and routes in response to the evolving market conditions and trade patterns. The refresh ensures we canadequately support demand from our growing and valued customer base. The network expansion has been achieved through efficient route streamlining resulting in minor service reductions on some routes without any route cancellations,” Shadid said.
Following the network refresh, Etihad Cargo anticipates upscaled demand for its FreshForward service – a dedicated product for perishables movement, including vegetables and flowers from Africa and Asia, as well as increased connectivity for garment flows between Asia, Europe and the US.
Etihad Cargo continues to cement its standing as a major international air cargo player, leveraging Abu Dhabi’s strategic position at the centre of the world’s busiest trade lanes.
“While the UAE is now clearly a nexus destination on the New Silk Road, it has emerged as a strategic global trade connector linking Europe and North America with Asia and Africa, and vice-versa. Our updated freighter schedule, driven by our extended coverage to and from North America, will have a lasting impact in connecting Abu Dhabi to the world,” explained Shadid. “The network refresh is another step in the continuous evolution of Etihad Cargo’s offering to strengthen our customer value proposition, reaffirm our standing as a preferred air cargo partner, while delivering value to the Etihad Aviation Group.”