UAE’s Etihad Cargo, Kenya’s Astral Aviation launch partnership, boost African market reach

Inaugural flight from Nairobi to Abu Dhabi marks commencement of strategic partnership
UAE’s Etihad Cargo, Kenya’s Astral Aviation launch partnership, boost African market reach
Etihad Cargo also operates a weekly freighter service that connects Nairobi to Amsterdam via the carrier's Abu Dhabi hub (Image: WAM)

Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Airways, has embarked on a promising collaboration with Astral Aviation, a leading cargo airline with extensive African network coverage. The inaugural flight from Nairobi, Kenya, to Abu Dhabi, UAE, on March 21 marked the commencement of this strategic partnership, aimed at expanding Etihad Cargo’s reach into the African market.

Expanding reach

The timing of the inaugural flight was strategically chosen to meet the increased demand for flowers, highlighting the synergy between Etihad Cargo’s global reach and Astral Aviation’s strong African network. Moreover, the successful operation demonstrated the partnership’s potential to enhance cargo capacity and offer efficient logistics solutions, particularly for time-sensitive shipments such as perishable goods.

Under their agreement, Etihad Cargo and Astral Aviation have committed to leveraging their combined networks, expertise and logistics capabilities to enhance cargo services between the UAE and Africa. Hence, the partnership reflects the airlines’ dedication to providing innovative and customer-centric solutions, ensuring high-quality service across their operations.

Strengthening trade links

Following the success of the inaugural flight with Etihad Cargo, Astral Aviation will resume weekly operations from Abu Dhabi starting March 28, 2024. This regular service will further strengthen trade links between the UAE and Africa, catering to a wide range of cargo needs and fostering economic growth in both regions.

Commenting on the inaugural flight, Stanislas Brun, vice president of Etihad Cargo, said: “The successful inaugural flight from Nairobi to Abu Dhabi is just the beginning of Etihad Cargo’s ambitious journey with Astral Aviation.” Brun also highlighted Etihad Cargo and Astral Aviation’s plans to offer air cargo solutions tailored to the needs of their customers and partners, especially in the growing African market.

In addition to the weekly flights in partnership with Astral Aviation, Etihad Cargo will provide additional belly capacity to its partners and customers via daily passenger flights to Nairobi from May 1, 2024. Etihad Cargo also operates a weekly freighter service that connects Nairobi to Amsterdam via the carrier’s Abu Dhabi hub.

Read: Global air travel demand to rise 3 percent above 2019 levels this year: ICAO

Abu Dhabi: Air cargo hub

Expanding cargo operations to and from Zayed International Airport is a vital component that strengthens Abu Dhabi’s standing as a hub for air cargo. Wilson Chan, senior vice president, Freezone Cargo and Logistics of Abu Dhabi Airports, states that Zayed International Airport plays a major role in fostering greater trade between Abu Dhabi and the world. It has state-of-the-art cooling facilities which allow it to safely transport temperature-controlled goods and pharmaceuticals. Moreover, it has significantly increased its operational capacity to cater to the growing demand.

“This inaugural flight, and the commencement of weekly flights to Nairobi, is further evidence of the important commercial and business ties Abu Dhabi Airports and our partners Etihad Airways and Astral Aviation, are helping to facilitate,” Chan added.

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