Emirates SkyCargo to build on 2023 successes and advance its long-term strategic growth plans


Dubai, UAE – Emirates SkyCargo, the cargo arm of the world’s largest international airline, wraps up a major year of growth and investment in both its current and future operations. Signalling its confidence in the essential role air cargo will continue to play in global trade, the airline has made significant leaps towards its long-term strategic growth plans to double capacity in the next decade, and further cement its leading position in global air logistics.

Nabil Sultan, Divisional Senior Vice President, Emirates SkyCargo said: “2023 was a pivotal year for Emirates SkyCargo. Despite ongoing fluctuations in air freight, long-term trends indicate that the industry is growing at a rate of 3 – 5% year-on-year. Emirates SkyCargo, however, continues to outperform the market growth, uplifting over 1,183,000 tonnes from January to mid-December, a solid 7% increase compared to last year. Looking to the future, we are well-positioned to steadily scale up operations in 2024, continuing our strategic growth to ensure we lead the industry in solutions that are fast, reliable, flexible, and efficient.”

Reaching every corner of the globe

In line with the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33) Emirates SkyCargo is on a journey to grow Dubai’s position as the world’s largest logistics hub, expanding its fleet and network to better serve global customers. In Q1, Emirates SkyCargo leased two Boeing 747-400Fs, unlocking immediate additional cargo space in response to high customer demand. These aircraft join its fleet of 11 Boeing 777Fs and 251 passenger aircraft.

Further expansion is on the horizon, with four new 777-200Fs expected in 2024 and a fifth aircraft in 2025. This order is in addition to 310 wide-body passenger aircraft that Emirates has on the order book, which will see deliveries of new aircraft, and new cargo capacity, through to 2035.

Building on its competitive global connectivity, Emirates SkyCargo extended its reach in Canada and North America through a strategic interline cooperation with Air Canada Cargo. Customers are now able to book shipments that will travel on Air Canada Cargo flights via e-SkyCargo, expanding Emirates SkyCargo’s reach to over 60 cities in Canada and more than 150 cities globally.

Ever-evolving product portfolio

In May, Emirates SkyCargo reinforced its multi-vertical product portfolio, with the launch of two new bespoke products under its Life Sciences and Healthcare vertical. Addressing specific transportation challenges in healthcare, Emirates Vital is a specialist product designed to transport clinical trials, cell and gene therapies, and human samples, while Emirates Medical Devices enables the transport of everything from pacemakers to MRIs, following GDP specifications. Since launch, Emirates SkyCargo has uplifted almost 1,000 tonnes of highly sensitive cargo, using these two products alone.

Emirates Delivers expanded operations to Kuwait, providing door-to-door international delivery of items purchased from the UK and the US to savvy e-commerce shoppers. Recognising the opportunity in the wider Middle East region which has previously been underserved when it comes to e-commerce shipments, Emirates Delivers is preparing to significantly scale in 2024, offering fast, reliable, and cost-effective delivery solutions.

Advancing digitalisation strategy

Throughout 2023, Emirates SkyCargo helped shape the digital landscape for cargo operations. In addition to its own online booking platform on e-SkyCargo, the airline’s capacity is now available on two of the biggest digital marketplaces, CargoAi and WebCargo with plans to further expand its digital footprint in early 2024. In October, Emirates SkyCargo launched a landmark host-to-host connection with global freight forwarder, Kuehne+Nagel, providing direct access to its market-leading products and services on Kuehne+Nagel’s internal booking engine.

New brand umbrella

Reflecting Emirates SkyCargo’s wider contribution to global trade, the airline launched a new campaign showing how ‘The World Works Better with Emirates SkyCargo’. Disrupting the traditional USP-focused advertising of the cargo industry, The World Works Better has become the mantra by which Emirates SkyCargo operates, providing tangible impact to people and businesses all over the world.

Extending a lifeline to global communities

Committed to driving positive impact in the communities it serves around the world, Emirates SkyCargo is no stranger to humanitarian missions. Following the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria in February, Emirates SkyCargo, in collaboration with the International Humanitarian City (IHC) swiftly established an airbridge to Istanbul. Dedicating cargo space on its daily flight to Istanbul across a two-week period Emirates SkyCargo and IHC ensured a steady flow of emergency supplies to on-ground NGOs.

More conscious operations

Emirates SkyCargo continues to focus on meaningful sustainable and environmental initiatives that drive impact, both in its own operations and across the industry. From on-ground programmes that ensure 75% of all plastic sheeting in the airline’s Dubai-based facilities is recycled through to optimizing the way aircraft is loaded, more environmental and sustainably conscious operations will remain a priority for Emirates SkyCargo through to 2024 and beyond.

In August, the Emirates Group achieved the IATA Environmental Assessment (IEnvA) Stage One and the IEnvA Illegal Wildlife Trade module certifications, an achievement that Emirates SkyCargo contributed to significantly. Already a global leader in the prevention of illegal wildlife trafficking, the certification is an acknowledgement of the company-wide commitment to taking action.

As 2023 draws to a close, Emirates SkyCargo shows no signs of slowing down. Reflecting its confidence in the future of air logistics, and to serve its customers in a dynamic landscape, Emirates SkyCargo has laid out ambitious growth plans, including investments in digital capabilities, adding 20 new destinations to its freighter network, and doubling existing capacity over the next decade.

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