First joint flight for Etihad and Astral

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Etihad Cargo and African carrier Astral Aviation  have operated their first flight from Nairobi, Kenya, to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates following the signing of a memorandum of understanding aimed at expanding the UAE-based airline’s reach into the African market.

 The partnership will increase capacity, particularly for time-sensitive shipments such as perishable goods.

 Vice president of Etihad Cargo, Stanislas Brun, said: “The successful inaugural flight from Nairobi to Abu Dhabi is just the beginning of Etihad Cargo’s ambitious journey with Astral Aviation. Together, Etihad Cargo and Astral Aviation will offer air cargo solutions that cater to the dynamic needs of partners and customers, especially in the fast-growing African market.”

Wilson Chan, senior vice president – freezone cargo and logistics of Abu Dhabi Airports, said: “Expanding cargo operations to and from Zayed International Airport is a key component of our plan to ensure Abu Dhabi continues to strengthen its global standing as an air cargo hub.,

Astral Aviation chief executive Sanjeev Gadhia, added: “The partnership between Etihad Cargo and Astral Aviation marks a significant milestone in trade between Africa and Abu Dhabi, as the new flight will enable the efficient transportation of perishables including flowers, fresh fruits, vegetables and meat from Astral’s hubs in Nairobi and Johannesburg into Etihad’s Abu Dhabi hub and onto their network. On the return, the freighter will carry cargo from Etihad Cargo’s network in Asia, the USA, and Europe into Astral’s Intra African network, which will result in new opportunities for our respective clients.”

Astral Aviation will resume weekly operations from Abu Dhabi from 28 March.

In addition to the weekly flights launched in partnership with Astral Aviation, Etihad Cargo will provide additional belly capacity to its partners and customers on its daily passenger flights to Nairobi from 1 May. It also operates a weekly freighter service that connects Nairobi to Amsterdam via its Abu Dhabi hub.

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