Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Airways, has launched an innovative artificial intelligence (AI)-powered solution to transform airfreight operations and boost cargo capacity on flights. Deployment of state-of-the-art AI tools is the latest step in Etihad Cargo’s digitalisation journey and will enable the carrier to improve cargo volumes by optimising capacity on every flight across the carrier’s network.
In 2021, Etihad Cargo entered into a landmark proof-of-concept agreement with leading logistics technology solutions provider, Speedcargo Technologies, becoming one of only a few global carriers to leverage the Singapore-based provider’s AI products to maximise cargo capacity on flights. Following successful trials of Speedcargo’s AI solutions, Etihad Cargo has rolled out three AI-powered products — Amplifi, Cargo Eye and Assemble — to boost efficiency, digitise and standardise cargo handling across Etihad Cargo’s network, and enhance service levels for the carrier’s customers and partners.
Etihad Cargo uses Amplifi to optimise cargo loads on each flight. The technology dynamically calculates free and usable capacity based on booked cargo, aircraft type and cargo offer. Utilising the system-generated ULD level load plans, Etihad Cargo will maximise the cargo carried on its flights and significantly reduce the risk of overbookings. Cargo Eye is a scalable, modular system that captures cargo dimensions and volume data. Powered by Microsoft’s IOT Edge solutions and Speedcargo’s proprietary algorithms, Cargo Eye allows Etihad Cargo to digitise cargo as it enters the carrier’s ground handling stations, enabling the real-time sharing of cargo information for load planning, build-up planning and forward operations. Etihad Cargo will deploy Assemble across the carrier’s network of ground handling stations to facilitate the digital planning and build-up of ULDs using the load plans generated by Amplifi. Offering a user-friendly solution, Amplifi provides ground handling partners with build-up plans that provide step-by-step instructions for optimally built ULDs that conform to safety regulations.
Martin Drew, Senior Vice President – Global Sales & Cargo, said, “Since embarking on its digitalisation strategy in 2018, Etihad Cargo has developed, trialled and launched new technologies and solutions to provide customers and partners with an improved service offering. The recently completed trials of Speedcargo’s AI-powered solutions have demonstrated it is possible to improve cargo capacity utilisation across Etihad Cargo’s fleet and standardise cargo acceptance and build-up processes to improve the consistency and quality of cargo handling at stations within Etihad Cargo’s network.
“Etihad Cargo, with the launch of these AI solutions, is creating an information-rich network that connects airline operations and ground handling for better planning and decision-making. Creating digital audit trails of how cargo is received and handled will benefit Etihad Cargo’s customers by providing a more seamless end-to-end experience and improving the productivity and efficiency of planners and ground handling partners, with the ability to handle multiple flights simultaneously,” Drew concluded.
Trials of the AI-powered, end-to-end cargo handling solutions were carried out in Singapore, where this technology has been deployed and is already utilised by Etihad Cargo’s ground handling partners. The carrier has also launched a pilot programme to implement these solutions in Frankfurt and is actively collaborating with ground handling partners across Etihad Cargos’ expansive global network, with a view to rolling this cargo-maximising technology out to more stations in the coming months.