Etihad Cargo and Abu Dhabi Airports have announced a major, multi-phased project to enhance Abu Dhabi Int'l into a state-of-the-art global air cargo centre of excellence.

The plans revealed that the first phase, incorporating the upgrading of the Southside Etihad cargo facilities, will commence immediately and is due for completion by the end of Q3 2020. This initial phase will not only increase the efficiency and productivity of the existing facilities to support air cargo growth for the coming five years but it will also enhance Etihad Cargo’s pharmaceutical logistics capability.

In the mid- and long-term, the two partners have designated a plot of land at the East Midfield site. The hope is that the next-generation facility will become one of the world’s most advanced and automated air cargo terminals.

Bryan Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Airports, commented: “Geographically, Abu Dhabi is situated at the heart of the east to west trade routes. Additionally, the transport and logistics fabric of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is well planned and structured to create undeniable potential to grow the cargo traffic exponentially.

“Today we are putting in place the right foundations and frameworks for our future cargo activity, which in a few years will re-shape this industry for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is the future’s cargo hub for the region and the world.”

Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, added: “Today’s announcement is a major milestone in the development of Etihad Cargo’s logistics strategy that will see our hub continue to grow as one of the world’s most important trade facilitators connecting East and West."

According to the ch-aviation PRO airlines module, Etihad Cargo currently operates a fleet of six B777-Fs.