MIDDLE EAST Supplement~ Etihad explores links with China carriers

China is fi rmly on the road map for Etihad Airways in 2008, according to the carrier’s new head of cargo, Des Vertannes, who was in the PRC in early September exploring links with Shenzhen Airlines, China Southern andShanghai Airlines. The carrier has been fl ying twice weekly to Shenzhen with its A300-600 freighter for […]


China is fi rmly on the road map for Etihad Airways in 2008, according to the carrier’s new head of cargo, Des Vertannes, who was in the PRC in early September exploring links with Shenzhen Airlines, China Southern andShanghai Airlines.

The carrier has been fl ying twice weekly to Shenzhen with its A300-600 freighter for the past 18 months, but Vertannes says that before expanding its freighter services to other Chinese destinations it would like to get thesupport of local carriers.

“We would like to use their networks beyond the stations that we fl y to,” he says. “To fi ll capacity on a freighter year round is always diffi cult, so if we can broaden the help we get from other sources, that is an obvious help.” He also does not rule out joint freighter routes with Chinese carriers, if any of the potential partners are interested.

Etihad is also expecting to launch a passenger route to Shanghai and possibly also Beijing in 2008, but a freighter route to Shanghai is more problematic. Vertannes says the business case is still being evaluated, but admits: “You can’t operate an A300 to Shanghai, you would need a bigger beast, something thatdoesn’t have to hop, skip and jump.”