Etihad Cargo expands operations in China and India with Shanghai-Chennai direct

An Etihad Cargo Boeing 777 freighter flies overhead.
Anna Zvereva from Tallinn, Estonia, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Aviation Group, has reinforced its commitment to the Chinese and Indian markets, reinstating a twice-weekly freighter service from Shanghai to Abu Dhabi via Chennai starting 8 December.

Key global freight markets

The additional freighter service will provide additional capacity into two key global markets. The introduction of Chennai to Etihad Cargo’s network supports India’s booming market, which has witnessed an increase in manufacturing and industrial production post-pandemic.

 “The Indian market is currently booming,” said Martin Drew, Senior Vice President Global Sales & Cargo at Etihad Aviation Group.

“The country’s industrial production is rising and manufacturing output is rebounding, driven by increases in the production of machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and metals, among others.”

“As part of Etihad Cargo’s commitment to supporting this key market, the carrier has opened up freighter capacity from Chennai to support increased demand from customers in the region.”

 This latest addition to Etihad Cargo’s network follows the introduction of twice-weekly direct flights to Guangzhou.

With the introduction of this destination to the carrier’s network, Etihad Cargo became the first international airline to operate long-haul cargo and passenger services to the top three Chinese gateways — Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou — since the beginning of the pandemic.

In addition to expanding operations in China and India, Etihad Cargo has continuously reviewed its global network, adding destinations and frequencies, and is optimising freighter utilisation to support key trade lanes and customer demand.

China air freight market rebounds

The news of the Etihad Cargo service expansion also follows news from China which indicates that the Chinese air cargo industry has recovered to close to the volume it was at in 2019, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

Speaking at a press conference the spokesperson for the CAAC, Xu Qing stated:  The number of international cargo flights rose by 22% year on year to 200,000, including 69,000 flights by passenger aircraft refitted into cargo carriers.”

“This is a recovery of 97.2% of the volume in 2019”, he said.


From 8 December, Etihad Cargo will offer twice weekly freighter capacity between Shanghai to Chennai.

Etihad Cargo operates 79 weekly flights to India and 11 flights per week to mainland China, providing a total capacity of around 2,000 tonnes from both powerhouses.

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