Qatar to grow freighter fleet
Qatar Airways agreed to purchase two Boeing 777 freighters at the recent Dubai Air Show. The addition of these aircraft will elevate the Doha-based carrier’s dedicated cargo fleet to 11 by 2015.
Presently, Qatar Airways’ freight fleet is comprised of three Boeing 777s and three Airbus A300s. Company CEO Akbar Al Baker said the decision to procure more 777s centered on the aircraft’s “payload and range capability, reliability and economics.” Qatar currently operates this aircraft on its African, Asian-Pacific, North American and European cargo routes.
“The Boeing 777 has quickly become our flagship long-haul aircraft, and since we started taking delivery of this airplane in 2007, we have been able to open up exciting, new, diverse passenger and cargo routes worldwide from our Doha hub,” Al Baker said in a statement.
The Middle Eastern carrier’s recent decision to take a 35-percent stake in Cargolux has also propelled freight operations, Al Baker said. “Qatar Airways has been able to draw on the synergies between the two companies to operate a wider network of freighter services,” he stated.
What’s more, Al Baker said new freight routes will be announced “in due course.” They will complement the carrier’s North American expansion plan, which saw the launch of cargo service to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Toronto Pearson International Airport in November. All of these flights are performed on 777F aircraft, a Qatar spokesman revealed.
In addition to ordering two 777Fs, Qatar officials agreed to purchase 88 narrow-and wide-body Airbus aircraft at the Dubai Air Show. The carrier, which placed orders for 50 A320neos and five A380s, has the option to buy 30 more A320s and five additional A380s. Aircraft deliveries are slated to begin in 2013.