Qatar to operate freighters on behalf of IAG Cargo
IAG Cargo signed a long-term commercial agreement with Qatar Airways to purchase capacity on Qatar-operated freighters, effective May 1.
Qatar Airways will operate five B777F flights a week between Hong Kong and London on behalf of IAG Cargo.
“We are delighted to reach this agreement with Qatar Airways. This new partnership is an important step forward for us and enhances our relationship with Qatar. It allows us to continue delivering significant capacity for our customers through the important gateway of Hong Kong,” Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG, said. “This agreement ensures our customers in Hong Kong will see a smooth transition from the current arrangements to the Qatar Airways flights.”
The agreement marks a transition for IAG Cargo and follows the company’s decision to transfer freighter operations from its provider Global Supply Systems.
“Qatar Airways is pleased to be furthering our relationship with IAG Cargo. The growth in the cargo market has fueled Qatar Airways’ massive expansion in this business, and this exchange with IAG Cargo allows us both to deliver optimal level of service, convenience and flexibility to our worldwide cargo customers. Hong Kong is a key market on our route map, and so we have continually made investments in the capacity operating on the route,” Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, said. “Qatar Airways Cargo is currently undergoing significant development and growth with the introduction of new aircraft and freighter routes. The opening of our brand new facility at Hamad International Airport will soon see 1.4 million tonnes of cargo being handled annually. Our expansion plans and innovation initiatives will definitely support IAG Cargo to deliver a high level of service to their customers.”
With Global Supply Systems, IAG Cargo has leased three B747-8 freighters. The termination of the agreement is effective the end of April.
“We have reviewed our long-haul freighter program following the merger of British Airways and Iberia freight businesses to create IAG Cargo,” Steve Gunning, CEO of IAG Cargo, said. “The review took account of the growing cargo capacity available to us from our passenger fleet, as well as the outlook for the airfreight industry overall, and we have made the strategic decision to significantly revise our long-haul freighter program. I would also add that we greatly value the support we have received from GSS over the years.”
“GSS is proud of its 12 years of freighter operation for British Airways World Cargo, then IAG Cargo,” Rod Lynch, chairman and CEO of GSS, said. “Although we are sorry to see the relationship end, we understand IAG Cargo's decision and will now direct GSS towards new opportunities.”