Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways and Airbus have highlighted the carrier’s status as the launch customer for the world’s newest freighter aircraft, the widebody A330-200F, by ceremonially handing over Etihad’s first A330-200F at the Farnborough International Airshow and displaying the aircraft at the show.
Etihad Airways placed its A330-200F order at the Paris Le Bourget Air Salon in 2007 and its first A330-200F will enter service with the airline’s cargo business, Etihad Crystal Cargo, in September.
“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,” says James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive officer.
“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,” notes Tom Enders, president and CEO of Airbus.
The aircraft is on display throughout this year’s Farnborough show, after which Airbus will perform final pre-delivery work on the aircraft in Toulouse.
Benefiting from the market success of the A330 passenger version, Airbus says it is delivering an aircraft with better payload-range performance than predicted, coupled with low operating costs.
The A330-200F is aimed at replacing aging mid-sized freighters and Airbus claims it offers a true alternative to larger freighters. The company says it is the only mid-size, long-haul, all-cargo aircraft capable of carrying 65 tonnes over 4,000 nautical miles (7,400km) or 70 tonnes over 3,200nm (5,900km).