Etihad cargo unit revenue up 12.2pc, plans to build capacity in 2013-14

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UAE CARRIER Etihad Airways' cargo unit has posted 12.2 per cent increase in first quarter revenue to US$159 million, with the total revenue - passengers included - rising by 28.5 per cent to $989 million.

Passenger numbers for the quarter grew by 50,000, and revenues jumped 25.4 per cent.

Etihad Crystal Cargo is looking to "significant expansion" in the next 18 months through new routes expansion using belly-hold capacity to Shanghai, Chengdu.

"Combined investments in Air Seychelles and Europe's sixth largest airline, airberlin, is game changing for us," said its CEO James Hogan, reported London's Air News Times.

Mr Hogan said the carrier is looking to make better use of bellyhold capacity in its new routes to Shanghai, Chengdu and elsewhere. These new services, combined with investments in Air Seychelles and airberlin, should help Etihad achieve success during an industry-wide slowdown in air freight, he said.

"The airberlin deal will be our most important catalyst for growth in 2012. It has given us instant access to Europe's largest travel market, and will have a major impact on revenues in 2012, with an expected contribution of up to $50 million," he said.

It is also to launch new services to Vietnam and to South America in 2013 with further frequency likely to both Asia and Australia. It has two freighters on order for delivery in 2013 and 2014.

"Despite the tough economic times, we believe our business model of organic network growth combined with codeshare partnerships and strategic equity investments will enable us to continue to prosper and ensure sustainable profitability," Mr Hogan said.

Following the carrier's net profit of $14 million it is bullish that 2012 will be the "most profitable in the airline's history."

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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