Abu Dhabi Airports and Etihad Cargo announce a major project to enhance Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) into a state-of-the-art global air cargo “centre of excellence”.
The two companies plan to implement a multi-phased cargo infrastructure development strategy, starting with the imminent upgrade of Etihad’s existing air cargo terminal facilities on the Southside airport perimeters.
The programme will culminate with the inauguration of Etihad Cargo’s future home, a new state-of-the-art air cargo terminal in the East Midfield section of the airport, an area designated by Abu Dhabi Airports for future integrated cargo, logistics and integrator activities.
The plans revealed that the first phase – the upgrading of the Southside Etihad cargo facilities – will commence immediately and is due for completion in phases between fall 2019 and end of Q3 2020.
The scope includes the enhancement of RFS loading docks with levelers, insulation and floor works for faster and more efficient loading with stricter temperature controls, increased storage space and additional build-up and breakdown zones to improve production workflow, and upgraded cool chain facilities for both its fresh and pharma handling and storage operations.
“This phase will not only increase efficiency and productivity in the existing facilities to support air cargo growth at Abu Dhabi International Airport for the coming five years, but it will also enhance Etihad’s pharmaceutical logistics capability through a dedicated Southside Pharma Terminal,” the two say.
The pharma terminal will add 3,500 sqm of space for temperature-controlled handling and storage across both 2-8 degrees Celsius and 15-25 degrees Celsius categories. This further complements Etihad Cargo’s January milestone of becoming the first airline in the Middle East to gain CEIV Pharma certification for both its airline and terminal operations.
With a focus on continued growth mid- and long-term, Abu Dhabi Airports and Etihad Cargo have agreed as a next step to designate a plot of land at the East Midfield site. The team will soon be inviting expressions of interest to bid for the design and construction of Etihad Cargo’s state-of-the-art, next generation facility.
The carrier says this will mark the creation of one the world’s most advanced and automated air cargo terminals. The facility will be designed to handle incremental UAE import and export demand, boost Etihad’s cargo network flows, as well as cater for the significant rise in e-commerce and express mail and cargo operations.
Bryan Thompson, CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports, comments: “Geographically, Abu Dhabi is situated at the heart of the east to west trade routes. Additionally, the transport and logistics fabric of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is well planned and structured to create undeniable potential to grow the cargo traffic exponentially.”
“Today we are putting in place the right foundations and frameworks for our future cargo activity, which in a few years will re-shape this industry for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is the future’s cargo hub for the region and the world,” Thompson adds.
Tony Douglas, Group CEO, Etihad Aviation Group, says: “Today’s announcement is a major milestone in the development of Etihad Cargo’s logistics strategy that will see our hub continue to grow as one of the world’s most important trade facilitators connecting East and West.
“The immediate investment in the Southside terminal will deliver a step change in the efficiency and capability of our existing facilities while the announcement of the development of a new facility reinforces Etihad’s commitment to develop Abu Dhabi as a world class hub for the logistics of the future.”
In addition, Abu Dhabi Airports is setting the ground work for the first phase of a bonded, non-bonded and free zone area adjoining the airport designated as Al Falah Free Zone, which it will develop as a prime location for E-commerce fulfilment and Logistics warehousing. The goal, according to the duo, is to transform the nation’s capital into a globally recognised, multi-modal cargo hub driving sustainable economic growth in the Emirate.