Etihad Crystal Cargo, a division of Etihad Airways, is introducing SMS (short message service) tracking for its customers, enabling them to follow the status of freight shipments worldwide via mobile telephone.

By sending a text message to a specified Etihad Crystal Cargo telephone number customers can obtain real-time information about the status of their consignments that is sent by SMS to their mobile phone. Customers can also track multiple shipments at a time in single SMS message.

Des Vertannes, Etihad Airways’ executive vice president cargo, said: ‘The introduction of SMS tracking technology is another important step for Etihad Crystal Cargo which will bring important information to the fingertips of our customers.

‘It is vital for our customers to know at any time exactly where in the world their shipment is located. Furthermore, by tracking their shipment so precisely our customers will be able to improve the efficiency of their own businesses.’

The tracking service, which was first introduced in the UAE in 2006, will cost users the same price as a standard text message and supports Etihad Crystal Cargo’s online tracking system located at

Etihad Crystal Cargo’s new service uses an SMS Gateway solution for two-way transmission of text messages called ‘SMS Xprez’ and supplied by Ontrack Systems (UAE), Ltd.

SMS Xprez is linked to Etihad Crystal Cargo’s IT platform, CRISTAL (Cargo Reservations Information Sales Tracking Accounting and Logistics), which picks up the information on the shipment from the system and sends an update to the customer.

In addition to tracking, the new technology also offers capabilities of incoming SMS analysis and creation of management information system reports which enable Etihad Crystal Cargo to send generic information such as new routes and services to the customer.

This technology also enables Etihad Crystal Cargo to send a freight status update on mobile phone and personal digital assistant.

Crystal Cargo achieved growth of 38% in 2007 compared to global increases of 4.5% and Middle East increases of 9.7%.

The cargo terminal has been enhanced and the division is now able to handle more than 270,000 tonnes a year. To cap an impressive 2007, Crystal Cargo was voted Cargo Airline of the Year by readers of London-based Air Cargo News.

Etihad’s Crystal Cargo division was launched in September 2004 and currently offers a network of 50 destinations, seven of these cargo-only routes.

The fleet currently comprises of two Airbus A300-600RFs and an MD-11F freighter that joined the fleet in September 2007, boosting freighter capacity by 30%.