Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Airways, has welcomed senior leaders from China’s SF Airlines to Abu Dhabi to review the reciprocal block space agreement between the two airlines announced earlier this year and explore opportunities to expand it further based on Abu Dhabi’s strategic location.
During the visit, Etihad Airways and SF Airlines entered into an expanded Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cement their commitment to strengthening ties and further cooperating to increase cargo capacity between China and the rest of the world via Etihad Cargo’s hub in Abu Dhabi.
In April 2023, Etihad Cargo and SF Airlines signed a reciprocal capacity agreement to connect their respective networks.
The new partnership saw the launch of two weekly freighter services between Abu Dhabi Airport and Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in the Hubei Province of China and added a fourth Chinese gateway destination to Etihad Cargo’s expanding global network.
The new flights have given Etihad Cargo’s partners and customers greater accessibility to 25 domestic Chinese destinations, including Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Chengdu and Nanjing.
SF Airlines, via the agreement, has expanded its Middle Eastern footprint and benefits from Etihad Cargo’s global network for its express product, supporting the airline’s vision of growing its parcel delivery capabilities around the world.
The new MoU, signed on 16 June 2023, expands the cooperation between the two airlines and strengthens their commitment to exploring additional opportunities to achieve mutual growth and expand their respective networks via the Abu Dhabi and Wuhan mega-hubs.
Future plans include expanding cooperated flights to Ezhou Huahu Airport, China’s first cargo-focused airport. This move would make Etihad Airways the first international airline other than SF Airlines to operate flights to the airport.
Under the new agreement, Etihad Cargo and SF Airlines will review the schedule of services between Abu Dhabi and Wuhan with a view to increasing frequencies, thereby ensuring the airlines can meet increasing capacity demands from customers and partners in the UAE, China and around the world.
Antonoaldo Neves, Chief Executive Officer at Etihad Airways, said, “As the national carrier of the UAE, Etihad Airways is committed to supporting Abu Dhabi’s vision of becoming a global logistics and express hub.
“The agreement between Etihad Airways and SF Airlines will contribute to achieving the emirate’s ambitious strategic plans.
“It was a pleasure to welcome such prominent visitors from SF Airlines’ leadership to the country’s capital.
“Etihad Cargo looks forward to expanding the agreement between the two airlines to not only benefit the partners and customers of both airlines but also broaden the strong ties between the UAE and China.”
Li Sheng, Vice President of SF Group, Chairman of SF Airlines, said, “Working with Etihad Airways has been a significant milestone and achieved fruitful results.
“The elevation of two companies ties to a strategic partnership. By expanding this cooperation between SF Airlines and Etihad Airways, we will continue strongly supporting and improving both parties’ service capabilities, and provide global consumers with more convenient and reliable services.”