Etihad is the launch customer for the freighter which made its maiden flight from Airbus in Toulouse to the airline’s base in Abu Dhabi on Monday evening, 9th August.
The freighter will boost the airline’s expanding fleet of cargo aircraft and arrives at a time when cargo volumes are at their highest for Etihad.
Etihad Crystal Cargo carried a record tonnage in July of more than 23,000 tonnes. More than 30,000 shipments were carried during the month, driven by increased volumes from Pakistan, Australia, China and Bangladesh. The United Arab Emirates was the top cargo destination.
In the year to date Etihad Crystal Cargo has experienced a 21 per cent growth in tonnage and a 30 per cent growth in yield. Overall cargo revenue has grown by 57 per cent since this time last year.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ Chief Executive Officer, said: “The arrival of our new A330-200 freighter marks a new era in Etihad’s cargo services and will support Etihad’s goal to expand that side of the business further.”
“The aircraft will bring us more payloads, at a reduced operating cost, and will offer us better connectivity in our flight network, with greater transfer flows.”
The Airbus A330-200 freighter aircraft can carry up to 64 metric tonnes of cargo and can fly up to 7,400 kilometres non-stop. It will allow Etihad Crystal Cargo to increase frequencies and build its presence in the high-growth European and Asian freight markets.
Etihad Crystal Cargo will take delivery of a second Airbus A330-200 freighter in October 2010 and the two Airbus A330-200s will join the two leased MD-11 freighters and two leased A300 leased freighters.