Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Airways, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Astral Aviation Ltd to expand the partnership between the two parties and enhance the cooperation between Abu Dhabi and Nairobi, further growing Etihad Cargo's reach in the African market.
Etihad said through the MoU its customers would benefit from additional cargo capacity out of Nairobi via the introduction of additional services from Nairobi to Etihad Cargo’s hub in Abu Dhabi from April 1, 2023.
Source: Etihad Cargo
"The expansion of the partnership between Etihad Cargo and Astral Aviation will further enhance Etihad Cargo's capabilities in the African market," it added.
In 2021, the carrier signed a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with Astral Aviation to provide reliable and cost-effective air freight solutions for the transport of pharmaceuticals across the continent.
The SLA was Etihad Cargo's first Pharma Interline agreement and ensured the carrier's partners' full compliance with the latest IATA Pharma and GDP regulations and standards.
This latest agreement builds on Astral Aviation's expanding partnership with Abu Dhabi, which will see Astral Aviation operating more flights to the UAE's capital, supported by Etihad Cargo.
"The signing of this MoU demonstrates Etihad Cargo and Astral Aviation's shared commitment to joint network development and providing a more comprehensive solution to international cargo transportation between Nairobi and Abu Dhabi," said Martin Drew, senior vice president – Global Sales & Cargo at Etihad Airways.
Drew added that the partnership would enable Etihad Cargo to expand its African network and offer increased cargo capacity both into and out of Nairobi, strengthening the connection between the two cities via this key route and further developing this critical African gateway.
"We are truly honoured to enter into an MoU with Etihad Cargo as a part of our strategy to expand our network globally, which will enhance accessibility and connectivity via Etihad’s Abu Dhabi Hub," said Sanjeev Gadhia, CEO of Astral Aviation.
"We look forward to transporting Perishables from Kenya into Abu Dhabi and beyond on Etihad's network, and on the return with cargoes from Asia, USA and Europe to connect into Astral's Intra African network in Nairobi," he added, noting that this cooperation will also create "new opportunities" for Astral's clients and will be a "win-win partnership."
The agreement will see Astral Aviation and Etihad Cargo sharing up to 50% of all available capacity on the new Nairobi-Abu Dhabi-Nairobi flights, increasing the capacity Etihad Cargo offers air cargo and air mail customers.
Via Etihad Cargo's Abu Dhabi hub, the carrier's global network will offer connectivity to destinations around the world.
Etihad Cargo said it would utilise its expansive road feeder service network to transport cargo arriving in Abu Dhabi from Nairobi to destinations throughout the UAE and other offline stations.