Etihad Cargo’s five A330-200 freighters, which have been sitting idle since the beginning of the year have been bought by DHL, to be added to DHL Aviation’s fleet of aircraft which are operated on behalf of DHL Express.
A DHL spokesperson told AsiaCargoBuzz.com: “The purchase of these aircraft are part of our normal fleet replacement and capacity upgrade programme. They will join the fleet of approx. 250 dedicated cargo aircraft and fly various routes as business dictates.”
DHL is also the launch customer for Elbe Flugzeugwerke’s (EFW) A330-300 conversion programme with orders for eight aircraft and 10 options, DHL Aviation has taken delivery of one aircraft so far.
The sale of the five A330s follows confirmation in July that Etihad was in advanced discussions with a potential buyer and the deal leaves Etihad with five cargo aircraft, all of them B777Fs.
An air freight analyst told AsiaCargoBuzz.com that Etihad’s sale of the A330s was no surprise as the aircraft is a “poor performer as a cargo aircraft, unless you happen to be an integrator”.
Etihad is in the midst of reorganising itself as it continues to recover from losses of AED 7.34 billion (USD 2.01 billion) in 2016. Aside from the sale of the A330 freighters, Etihad has also retired its five B777-200 passenger aircraft.
In June, the airline announced that annual results from last year which show higher revenues and shrinking losses. Revenues have increased 1.9 per cent to USD 6.1 billion from USD 5.9 billion in 2016, while losses in core operations have shrunk by USD 432 million to USD 1.52 billion from a record USD 1.95 billion a year earlier.
Recently-appointed Etihad Airways Group chief executive Tony Douglas said recently that Etihad was becoming “more rational” and would not shy away from dropping routes that were commercially unsustainable.
Douglas’ predecessor, James Hogan pursued a strategy which saw billions of dollars spent buying stakes in other airlines as it sought to transform Abu Dhabi into a major hub like Emirates created in Dubai.
“Etihad is now focused on point-to-point traffic to destinations where passengers want to visit Abu Dhabi, and not just fly through it,” Douglas said.