A well-timed delivery of the first A330-200F freighter
Airbus has branded its new A330-200F freighter as “the right aircraft, right now,” and today’s delivery of the first cargo lifter to Etihad Airways confirmed the validity of this tagline.
At a Farnborough International Airshow handover ceremony, Etihad CEO James Hogan said the A300-200F’s arrival is well-timed, as the international air cargo sector shows clear signs of recovery following the dramatic downturn spurred by the recent financial crisis.
“Coming out of the very tough period in 2009, we now see a strong trend that cargo is growing…cargo is coming back,” explained Hogan. “Cargo tonnage in the first half of 2010 increased by 21 per cent over the same period last year, and revenues were up by 59 per cent.”
Hogan added that freight volume is expected to continue on the upswing, driven in part by a rebound in Asia-Pacific traffic. “This certainly is giving us the momentum to focus much harder on our freighter operations,” he said.
Today’s no. 1 A330-200F delivery gave Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways the lead-in customer status for this world’s newest freighter, and the milestone aircraft will be placed in service with its Etihad Crystal Cargo operation in September.
According to Hogan, the two A330-200Fs ordered by Etihad will become a key part of the airline’s freighter fleet, providing capacity and range to significantly expand its cargo operations. Etihad’s second A330-200F is to be delivered during September for a service entry in October.