Etihad Crystal Cargo, a division of Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, has signed an interline agreement and a codeshare arrangement with Cargoitalia, the Italian private freighter airline operating from Milan’s Malpensa Airport.

The deal provides customers with continued freighter capacity access between Abu Dhabi and Milan where the service will link with Cargoitalia’s network of destinations in the USA and Central America including New York, Chicago, Houston as well as Mexico City.

Etihad Crystal Cargo currently operates a twice-weekly freighter service between Abu Dhabi and Milan, in addition to the airline’s three flights a week passenger service. The new agreement will see greater load capacities between these two destinations as a result of the deployment of Cargoitalia’s 70 ton capacity DC10F on the route.

Des Vertannes, Etihad Crystal Cargo’s executive vice president, said: ‘The new interline and codeshare agreement with Cargoitalia will greatly benefit Etihad Crystal Cargo and its customers not only in terms of the wider number of freighter destinations we can now access, but also the greater capacity volumes offered by the new aircraft deployed on this popular route.’

Massimo Panagia, Cargoitalia’s chief operating officer, said: ‘The agreement with Etihad Crystal Cargo allows Cargoitalia’s customers in North America, Europe and Asia to benefit from a deep reinforcement of our Middle East and East Africa network. It is therefore another important step in the execution of our industrial strategy already focused on that region.’

The deployment of Cargoitalia’s DC10F aircraft on the Abu Dhabi to Milan sector will enable Etihad Crystal Cargo to redeploy its Airbus A300-600F aircraft, which offers a capacity of 40 tons, to Chennai and Colombo.

The new agreement will provide Cargoitalia customers with access to Etihad Crystal Cargo’s destinations in the Middle-East, East Africa and Far East, in addition to its own existing services to Dubai, Chennai, Mumbai, Dhaka and Shanghai.

Massimo Roccasecca, Cargoitalia vice president for EMEA region stated: ‘By reaching this important and exciting agreement, Cargoitalia is choosing Abu Dhabi as its main sub hub for network expansion in this strategic area.’

Mr Vertannes added: ‘Despite alliances between cargo companies still being quite rare in the industry, collaborations like this are enormously beneficial to both companies as we are able to share resources and enhance our capacity and network for our customers.’