Etihad Cargo Emerges with a Rejuvenated Spirit
Over the past 14 years, Etihad Cargo has been making strides in their efforts to become one of the premier air cargo carriers in the world. As the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Airways, Etihad Cargo has worked hard to come to a point where they are today. However, to remain on top requires dedication and the ability to look inward and make changes where needed.
This flexibility and ambition to push the cargo arm forward has led the carrier to a refresh of its global freighter network. This is a key milestone that the carrier describes as a strategy to simplify its route network and maximize freighter-to-bellyhold flows. Along with this revamp of their network, the carrier has fully implemented a new technology platform to provide customers a fresh way to interact with Etihad Cargo.
To learn more, we spoke with Mr. Abdulla Mohamed Shadid, Etihad Airways Managing Director Cargo and Logistics. He explained further how the carrier went about accomplishing the goals they set forth and the importance they place on keeping their services customer centric.
Reworking the Network
Etihad Cargo’s new freighter network will see the airline increase existing Boeing 777 freighter frequencies into key markets in China and India, adding one weekly rotation each into Shanghai (x5) and Chennai (x3). The carrier also reinforced its commitment to customers in its core markets as it continues to service Amsterdam (x3), Frankfurt (x3), Columbus Ohio (x3), Hong Kong (x2), Hanoi (x2), Mumbai (x2), Dhaka (x2), East Midlands (x2), Dammam (x2), Delhi (x1), Bangalore (x1) and Chittagong (x1) on a weekly basis.
Mr. Shadid said: “Etihad Cargo continues to cement its position as a major player in the international air cargo market, leveraging Abu Dhabi’s strategic positioning at the center of the world’s busiest trade lanes to serve these key markets. Our freighters are central to this strategy, and the new network will ensure we maximize the cargo flows between main deck cargo and belly-hold capacity on our strong fleet of passenger jets that service our global network.”
Etihad Cargo continues to cement its position as a major player in the international air cargo market, leveraging Abu Dhabi’s strategic positioning at the center of the world’s busiest trade lanes to serve these key markets.
To make room for these changes, a few stations were removed from the new Etihad Cargo freighter network, the largest of which was Nairobi, citing weakening demand and market behaviors that rendered other core markets more attractive to serve. The carrier described that the path forward for them was to redeploy freighter capacity on core trade lanes that connect its hub in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and select global markets in Asia, Europe and the United States to meet growing customer demand.
The fourth quarter will also see Etihad Cargo offer customers incremental lower-deck cargo capacity to and from Abu Dhabi and the key markets of Singapore, Toronto, Cairo, Bangalore, and for the first time will also offer its customers cargo capacity into and out of Barcelona starting 28 November, when Etihad Airways launches its first direct service to the Spanish city from Abu Dhabi.
“This network strategy is yet another step in the continuous evolution of Etihad Cargo’s service offering to strengthen our customer value proposition while delivering value to the Etihad Aviation Group,” added Mr. Shadid. “It further compliments our ongoing efforts to maximize premium product verticals such as our SkyStables (equine), FlyCulture (arts and music) and FastTrack (mail and courier) products, while prioritizing investments in digital and physical infrastructure to reaffirm our place as a true air cargo partner of choice.”
Innovating on All Fronts
The revamp of the carrier’s freighter network was also met with other changes and celebrations as Etihad Cargo has fully migrated to “SPRINT,” an IBS iCargo fully integrated technology platform offering a digital answer to their evolving cargo management needs.
SPRINT combines booking and reservations, integration management including interface control, service delivery management (including messaging and eAWB support), loyalty management, AWB stock control and revenue accounting, all into a single integrated platform. It enables Etihad Cargo to enhance its capacity and pricing management processes whilst offering real-time shipment monitoring and quality control, helping to drive maximum efficiency.
Etihad Cargo joins a growing number of global carriers migrating their traditionally telephone and paper-based services online. Through the carriers newly revamped etihadcargo.com website, as well as digitalizing processes across all critical business functions, Etihad Cargo offers customers a platform to seamlessly manage all of their air cargo needs.
Mr. Shadid said: “We are extremely pleased that the 12-month implementation process has been concluded successfully, and even more excited at the prospects that this milestone brings. It represents a giant leap forward for our customer value proposition and allows us to embrace a whole new realm of digital services to further differentiate ourselves. Customers will feel the impact instantly, and it comes at a well-timed period when we have started deploying capacity in key markets for the fourth quarter.”
In a recent press release, V K Mathews, Executive Chairman, IBS Group, added: “Etihad Cargo has commissioned the most up-to-date technology solution in the domain, iCargo, and the seamless system cutover within time and budget reiterates IBS’ capability and domain expertise to deliver outstanding value to the business requirements of some of the iconic names in the airline industry.”
“iCargo has indeed captured the imagination of the cargo carriers and is now the undisputed market leader and the right IT platform to provide airlines with a competitive edge to lead in a digital world. It is my pleasure to welcome Etihad Cargo to the growing list of iCargo users and we are committed to be a transformational partner in their quest to achieve increased operational efficiencies, cost optimization and growth.”
Services that are now available at the customer’s fingertips span online bookings across all Etihad’s product portfolio, including general cargo as well as its signature TempCheck (pharmaceutical), SafeGuard (valuables), FreshForward (perishables), FlightValet (automotive) and FlyCulture (arts and music), among others. Customers will also be able to access Etihad Cargo’s Loyalty Program, which offers them a wide range of benefits now accessible online, and they will also be able search flights and track shipments in real-time.
“Our employees worked tirelessly during the past year to bring us to these significant milestones and should be proud of their achievement,” added Shadid. “Seldom do complex programs like this finish on time and within budget. We are certainly proud of them. However, this only marks the beginning of our digitalization journey. Etihad Cargo is hungry for more, and we will be working with our technology partners to deploy new technologies that will continue to differentiate us and help push our customer value proposition to the next level.”