Etihad Crystal Cargo is reaping the benefits of added capacity in a growing Middle East air freight market.
The Abu Dhabi state-owned carrier saw freight revenue soar 25.7 percent in 2011 from the year before to $651 million on a 17.8 percent increase in tonnage. Etihad, which transported 310,188 metric tons last year compared with 263,313 tons in 2010, is forecasting double-digit growth again in 2012 as it plans to boost capacity another 11 percent.
The gains came as the international air freight traffic in the Middle East grew 8.2 percent in 2011, according to the International Air Transport Association, even as cargo business worldwide contracted 0.6 percent.
MidEast-based carriers including Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways have been ramping up capacity to meet the region’s growing economic demand, and freight capacity in the Middle East grew 13.9 percent year-over-year last year.
Etihad launched cargo services to Amsterdam, Cairo, Djibouti, Kabul and Kandahar in 2011, and increased frequencies to China, India and South Africa.
The carrier, which operates five owned and two leased freighters, ordered two Boeing 777 freighters in 2011 and two Airbus A330-200 freighters in January.