Etihad Airways has expanded its existing partnership with China’s SF Airlines to strengthen ties and further cooperation to increase cargo capacity between China and the rest of the world via Etihad hub in Abu Dhabi. The new agreement includes expanding cooperated flights to Ezhou Huahu Airport, China’s first cargo-focused airport, making Etihad the first international airline other than SF Airlines to operate flights to the airport.

As a part of the deal, Etihad Cargo and SF Airlines will review the schedule of services between Abu Dhabi and Wuhan with a view to increasing frequencies, thereby ensuring the airlines can meet increasing capacity demands from customers and partners in the UAE, China and around the world.

Antonoaldo Neves, Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Airways, said: “As the national carrier of the UAE, Etihad Airways is committed to supporting Abu Dhabi’s vision of becoming a global logistics and express hub. The agreement between Etihad Airways and SF Airlines will contribute to achieving the emirate’s ambitious strategic plans. Etihad Cargo looks forward to expanding the agreement between the two airlines to not only benefit the partners and customers of both airlines but also broaden the strong ties between the UAE and China.”

Li Sheng, Vice President of SF Group, Chairman, SF Airlines, said: “Working with Etihad Airways has been a significant milestone and achieved fruitful results. The elevation of two companies ties to a strategic partnership. By expanding this cooperation between SF Airlines and Etihad Airways, we will continue strongly supporting and improving both parties’ service capabilities, and provide global consumers with more convenient and reliable services.”

In April 2023, Etihad Cargo and SF Airlines signed a reciprocal capacity agreement to connect their respective networks and launched two weekly freighter services between Abu Dhabi Airport and Wuhan Tianhe International Airport.

The new flights have given Etihad Cargo’s partners and customers greater accessibility to 25 domestic Chinese destinations, including Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Chengdu and Nanjing.

SF Airlines, via the agreement, has expanded its Middle Eastern footprint and benefits from Etihad Cargo’s global network for its express product, supporting the airline’s vision of growing its parcel delivery capabilities around the world.