Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates and Airbus have celebrated the carriers status as the launch customer for the world’s newest freighter aircraft, the wide-body A330-200F, at a ceremony at the Farnborough International Airshow. Following the Paris Le Bourget 2007 order the aircraft will enter service with Etihad’s cargo business, Etihad Crystal Cargo in September this year.
“The new aircraft will become a key part of our freighter fleet and make a major contribution to building the strength and network of our cargo business. The additional capacity will help us significantly expand our footprint in Asia and Europe, including China, as well as enhancing our worldwide charter service,” said Etihad Chief Executive Officer James Hogan.
“Etihad’s A330-200F aircraft will allow the airline’s cargo business to increase frequencies and build its presence in the high-growth European and Asian freight markets. Overall, the recovery of freight traffic is gaining significant momentum and this aircraft gives operators like Etihad Crystal Cargo, the best product for maximizing returns,” said Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO.
The aircraft will be on display throughout the air show, after which it will undertake final pre-delivery preparations by the manufacturer in Toulouse.
Benefiting from the technical superiority and market success of the A330 passenger version, Airbus is delivering an aircraft with better payload-range than predicted, coupled with low operating costs. The A330-200F is aimed at replacing ageing mid-sized freighters and offers a true alternative to larger freighters. It is the only modern mid-size, long haul, all-cargo aircraft capable of carrying 65 tonnes over 4,000nm/7,400km or 70 tonnes over 3,200nm/5,900km.
• See footage from the handover ceremony in the Airbus video gallery