Etihad Crystal Cargo, the cargo division of Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has begun freighter services to Khartoum, the capital of Sudan.

Initially Khartoum will be served twice weekly, Monday and Wednesday, with the Airbus A310-300 regional freighter. This is the sixth all-cargo-destination and the third continent which Etihad Crystal Cargo offers its services to.

Commenting on the news, the acting Head of Cargo & Mail, Ingo Roessler says, “We have been looking at Africa as an interesting option for freighter services ever since we launched our all-cargo services in February. Now the right time has come to step into this buoyant market. Etihad Crystal Cargo’s home base Abu Dhabi certainly has a very good strategic location to operate to and from Africa.”

Several other all-cargo-destinations in Africa, the CIS countries, Europe and Asia are currently under study.

In 2004, the first full year of operation, Etihad Crystal Cargo moved 20,000 tons of cargo. The cargo production target for 2005 is in excess of 100,000 tons.

From the beginning of 2005, cargo services have been dramatically upgraded by the introduction of the first of a fleet of regional freighter aircraft: The A300-600F, with a payload of up to 44.000 KGS, and the A310-300F, with a payload of up to 39.000 KGS. Another Airbus A300-600F will join Etihad Crystal Cargo’s fleet in August.

By the end of 2006, the airline expects to add an additional four regional freighter aircraft, bringing the total fleet to six freighters.

In addition to the new services to Khartoum, Etihad Crystal Cargo’s regional freighter fleet currently serves Frankfurt thrice a week, Amman, Milan and Chennai twice a week and Mumbai once a week. In addition, Etihad Crystal Cargo offers world-wide charter services.