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            october 23, 2019

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Etihad Cargo fine-tunes its network strategy


Etihad Cargo has turned away from blind expansion to focus on ridding itself of "bad revenue now concentrates on technological development coupled with key customers on key routes.
"The change has been like night and day. In a short span of time, we have become more digitised than most other airlines of our size," said Etihad cargo chief Abdulla Mohamed Shadid.
He said China was an important market as it has a strong economic relationship with the UAE, which is involved in the One Belt, One Road project.
"In the past, we may have been overly ambitious and tried to be too global. Now it is more about choosing the trade lanes we can be competitive in," said Mr Shadid.
"Only a handful have managed to do more than we have - in a few years we aspire to be ahead of the rest," he told London's Air Cargo News.
"Abu Dhabi is right in the middle of the Europe - Asia corridor, the world's busiest trade lane," he said. "We may have been overly ambitious and tried to be too global. Now it is more about choosing the trade lanes we can be competitive in."
The Abu Dhabi-based airline decided it had concentrated too much on creating a global footprint and not enough on developing technology, which customers were demanding, he said.
Etihad has exited its A330F fleet and now operates B777Fs that fly to core markets such as Europe and Asia, mostly to India, Vietnam and China.
This supplements passenger bellyhold capacity that services more than 90 destinations including North America, Africa and Australia.
With reduced capacity effectively helping Etihad eliminate "bad revenue", the smaller footprint has allowed Etihad to refocus and fine-tune the network, and this allows it to open up Singapore as a new route and increase Shanghai frequencies.
"We need to be conscious of the ecosystem we are in, where there is industry overcapacity," Mr Shadid said. "That is why we right-sized our fleet, and today we are confident that we have sufficient capacity to meet our needs for the foreseeable future."
"There is a major drive by the Abu Dhabi stakeholders to see more industrial and manufacturing activity in Abu Dhabi, and as these become major sources of exports for our country, Etihad is well positioned to can carry these products," he said.

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