Etihad Cargo, cargo and logistics arm of the Etihad Aviation Group, will add weekly services to Australia to provide critical international airfreight assistance, a press release confirmed.
Under an agreement with the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), Etihad Cargo will transport cargo carrying essential supplies between Abu Dhabi and Australia once a week within the bellyhold of Etihad Airways’ passenger aircraft.
This move will facilitate bidirectional trade to ensure continuity of fresh food to the UAE from Australia, as well as pharmaceuticals and medical supplies as part of the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Australian Government aims to accelerate the delivery of agricultural and fisheries exports into key overseas markets, citing over 560 local businesses expressing interest in utilising the International Freight Assistance Mechanism, the release noted.
Australia’s Federal Trade Minister, Simon Birmingham, said this new network would be crucial to coordinating international freight out of Australia until commercial passenger flights are restored.s
“Around 90 percent of our air freight, usually goes out in the bellies of passenger aircraft. With very few international passenger flights leaving Australia at present, our exporters are facing major hurdles,” Minister Birmingham noted.
“Through the better coordination of freight out of Australia, we can restore key freight routes and establish more frequent flights to our key markets so our agricultural and fisheries exporters can deliver their products to customers on time. We’ve moved quickly to establish this network and are now getting on with the job of supporting our exporters to get their products flowing again. With a network of some of the world’s largest airlines and most reputable freight forwarders in place, we’re injecting more reliability into the system that will also help our smaller exporters to aggregate their freight into volumes so they don’t miss out on export opportunities,” he added.
With the addition of Australia, Etihad Cargo will expand its network of 22 cargo-only passenger freighters and 10 charter planes. The cargo carrier has regular services between Abu Dhabi and Amsterdam, Brussels, Beijing, Bangkok, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Jakarta, Kochi, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur, London, Manila, Mumbai, Oslo, Seoul, Singapore, Tokyo and Zurich.