Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Airways, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China’s SF Airlines.

Following the MoU, both carriers will start operating flights via their respective fleets to each other’s hubs in April, which will enable Etihad Cargo to expand its reach into China via SF Airline’s extensive domestic network.

SF Airlines, the cargo arm of SF Holding, operates the largest cargo air fleets in China.

The new partnership between Etihad Cargo and SF Airlines will provide Etihad Cargo’s customers with greater connectivity to 25 domestic destinations in China via SF Airlines’ road feeder service trucking network, enhancing Etihad Cargo’s capabilities in the region.

“Strengthening the connection between Abu Dhabi and one of SF Airlines’ major Chinese hubs will enable Etihad Cargo’s customers to benefit from SF Airlines’ exhaustive distribution capabilities in China, and SF Airlines will reap the benefits of Etihad Cargo’s global network for its express product,” said Martin Drew, senior VP of global sales and cargo at Etihad Airways.

“Etihad Cargo is committed to the country’s ambitious growth vision, and this partnership supports the further development of Abu Dhabi as a major logistics and express hub for the region.”

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This new MoU will see the UAE-based carrier utilising SF Airlines’ Chinese network to transport cargo to other destinations in China via the Chinese carrier’s Hubei Province mega hub.

Etihad Cargo will operate the flights on a Boeing 777 freighter, with services commencing on 28 April 2023.

Via the capacity-sharing agreement, SF Airlines will also gain greater market access through the Etihad Cargo network to key destinations in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan.

“SF Airlines is excited the two companies can work together to connect hubs and strength the network of both airlines,” said Li Sheng, SF Airlines chairman.

“SF Airlines is looking forward to this cooperation, which will offer good value to customers and enable them to develop their international business with more convenient and diversified global transportation options.”

In February 2023, Etihad Cargo signed a similar MoU with Astral Aviation to grow its reach into the African market and expanded its European capacity with the introduction of new routes in Germany and Denmark.