MIDDLE EAST: Etihad freighter decision delayed

Etihad will not decide on purchasingwide-body freighters until plans forthe new cargo facilities at Abu Dhabiairport are finalised, according toSandra Taglieber, cargo spokespersonfor the airline. The carrier has been considering both the 777-200LRF and the A330freighter, but Taglieber says a decisionwill not be reached anytime soon. "Itis not a priority right now. It has to […]


Etihad will not decide on purchasingwide-body freighters until plans forthe new cargo facilities at Abu Dhabiairport are finalised, according toSandra Taglieber, cargo spokespersonfor the airline.

The carrier has been considering both the 777-200LRF and the A330freighter, but Taglieber says a decisionwill not be reached anytime soon. "Itis not a priority right now. It has to gohand in hand with the plans for the newairport, as we can only add cargo capacityif we have the facilities to handle it,"she says. No increase in the carrier’sthree-strong A300-600 freighter fleetis currently envisaged either.

Plans for the new cargo facilities aspart of Abu Dhabi’s massive $6.8bnupgrade have yet to be concluded, witheven their site still not being settled, accordingto insiders. A problem with thepreferred site, near the new passengerterminals, is a seasonal lake; consultantsare still deciding if this can be filledin or not. An alternative site for theterminal, further from the passengerfacilities, would be less satisfactory,given the high percentage of Etihad’scargo that is transit.

Officially, the first phase of the newcargo facilities are supposed to openin 2009 or 2010, with the current facilitybeing knocked down then. ButAbu Dhabi Airport Handling Services(ADAS) are still investing in the currentfacility, installing an ETV and lookingfor partners to work on bar-coding orRFID tagging, with the aim of boostingits throughput.