Etihad is believed to have completed a review of its cargo operations and determined that it will now reduce the fleet to just four 777F’s.
Many customers and freight operators are expressing dismay at the potential loss of what they see as a key airline with a superb reputation, barely able to handle the demand they have to use it, as it approaches peak season for air cargo.
A fifth 777F will remain operating on humanitarian operations under the Year of Zayeed initiative, then be sold off. A sixth 777F due in October has apparently been cancelled, with Boeing allegedly finding another airline to take the build slot.
The fleet of 5 A332F’s, currently stored, are believed to have been sold to DHL which has made an extensive commitment to the type, including being the first P2F customer.
The general feeling is that Etihad have made a huge error in judgement, largely being dropped at the feet of the new CEO, who is regarded as having no real understanding of the importance of cargo in the airlines operations.
The mistake is largely seen as two-fold – first cutting the fleet and loosing valued customers who are hacked off at being dropped, and secondly by maintaining a too-small and basically inefficient fleet that can’t meet demand.
Many cargo forwarders are said to be dropping the airline and looking elsewhere while they have the time, which will just make things worse in terms of revenue, which the airline needs.