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Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways says the upgrade to a B777-300ER on the Melbourne route presents a growth opportunity for the airlines cargo division.

The B777 offers a belly hold cargo capacity of around 14-16 tonnes, which allows us to capitalise on Australias strong trading relationship with the United Arab Emirates, said the carriers chief executive and president James Hogan.

The United Arab Emirates is Australias largest trading partner in the Middle East and, last year, two-way merchandise trade between Australia and the UAE was worth around $5.13 billion.

The larger aircraft, to start operating from 01 December, will offer 328 seats in a three-class configuration - 36 more than the AA340-600 which is currently flying the sector.

Aircargo Asia Pacific

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