Citing a growing economy in the Gulf region and an expected surge in traffic to Qatar for the coming World Cup football tournament in 2022, IAG Cargo said it plans to split two of its current routes to the Middle East region into four separate services.
This year, IAG Cargo said it will split its current Abu Dhabi and Muscat route into two flights, and will also do the same with its current Bahrain and Doha service. The three flights to Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Doha will be operated daily, while the flight to Muscat will operate five days per week. By creating these separate flights, IAG Cargo estimates that it will increase cargo capacity to the region by 83 percent.
IAG Cargo will use a next-generation 787-9 aircraft (pictured) to serve the Adu Dhabi route, which offers cool-chain capabilities for carrying temperature-sensitive belly cargo, using a climate-control system that can maintain temperatures within one degree Celsius of the ideal. The other three flights to Bahrain, Doha and Muscat will be served by IAG’s 777-200 aircraft, capable of carrying up to 20 tonnes of belly cargo per flight.
“With Bahrain making significant efforts to diversify its economy, and Doha benefitting from investments ahead of the 2022 football World Cup, this network expansion comes at a time of growing demand into and out of Middle Eastern markets,” said Camilo Garcia, head of sales at IAG Cargo. He said that the GDP for the United Arab Emirates has increased by 3.6 percent since last year, suggesting that more business opportunities will be found in the Abu Dhabi market and elsewhere in the Middle East.
The new capacity in the Gulf region, Garcia added, will off IAG Cargo’s customers “greater opportunity and flexibility” to connect to the carrier’s network of more than 350 global destinations.