Strategic air cargo alignment between Kenyan, Abu Dhabian carriers has lifted off

25th March 2024

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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Kenyan air cargo carrier Astral Aviation (Astral) and Abu Dhabi-based United Arab Emirates operator Etihad Cargo, the logistics and cargo business of Etihad Airways, have announced the functional start of their collaboration, with the completion of the first flight between Nairobi and Abu Dhabi. This collaboration was made possible by the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two carriers. This inaugural flight took place on Thursday.

The MoU allows Astral to access Etihad Cargo’s global network, and Etihad to access Astral’s African network, strengthening the offerings of both. As a result, Astral will be operating more flights into Abu Dhabi.

“The partnership between Etihad Cargo and Astral Aviation marks a significant milestone in trade between Africa and Abu Dhabi, as the new flight will enable the efficient transportation of perishables including flowers, fresh fruits, vegetables and meat from Astral’s hubs in Nairobi and Johannesburg into Etihad’s Abu Dhabi hub and onto their network,” highlighted Astral CEO Sanjeev Gadhia. “On the return, the freighter will carry cargo from Etihad Cargo’s network in Asia, the USA and Europe into Astral’s intra-African network, which will result in new opportunities for our respective clients.”

“The successful inaugural flight from Nairobi to Abu Dhabi is just the beginning of Etihad Cargo’s ambitious journey with Astral Aviation,” affirmed Etihad Cargo VP: cargo Stanislas Brun. “Together, Etihad cargo and Astral Aviation will offer air cargo solutions that cater to the dynamic needs of partners and customers, especially in the fast-growing African market.”

This first flight was specifically timed to meet the rising demand for flowers. It demonstrated the synergy between the two carriers and their networks. Astral will now resume weekly flights to Abu Dhabi, with effect from March 28. Further, Etihad Cargo will allocate increased airliner belly hold capacity to the route, through daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Nairobi, starting on May 1. (Etihad also operates a weekly flight from Nairobi to Amsterdam, via Abu Dhabi.)

“Expanding cargo operations to and from Zayed International Airport is a key component of our plan to ensure Abu Dhabi continues to strengthen its global standing as an air cargo hub,” reported Abu Dhabi Airports senior VP: freezone cargo & Llogistics Wilson Chan. “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.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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