Qatar Cargo boosted by bellyhold and freighter operations

By Damian Brett

Qatar Airways Cargo has continued to head the market in April as volumes hit 900m cargo tonne kilometres (CTK), according to IATA data, accounting for 7.2% of the global cargo market.

This comes as the airline last year became the world’s busiest cargo airline – excluding the express operators ⁠— as traffic increased by 0.5% year on year to 12.7bn freight tonne kms, while many of its rivals recorded declines as a result of trade tensions.

Qatar Airways chief officer cargo Guillaume Halleux told Air Cargo News that overall, the carrier has only recorded a “slight reduction” in cargo traffic this year because its passenger activity didn’t stop and therefore belly capacity didn’t totally disappear.

“Secondly, we were very fast to deploy passenger freighters [cargo-only passenger aircraft flights] in addition to our 28 full freighters,” he said. “Therefore, with up to 180 freighter flights per day, our capacity remained strong — probably one of the largest in the market.”

To support demand, Qatar Cargo introduced additional cargo capacity to several cities such as Shanghai, Guangzhou, Paris, Amsterdam, Muscat, Kuwait, Delhi, Beijing and Melbourne, among others.

Freight charters are also being operated to multiple countries including China, India, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Vietnam, Poland, the UK, the US and Australia.

Halleux added that the airline has postponed the release of “most of our A330Fs” – five were due to be returned this year – and “we are still working out the final swap plan with five brand new Boeing 777 freighters” that are due to be delivered.

He added: “During this crisis, our industry was the lifeline of the world. We delivered essential and critical medical goods to the frontline people who fought the virus in extremely hard conditions.

“Our industry brought protection for them and it also brought medication and equipment to save lives of thousands of patients. I am proud to be a part of the industry and I think we all, as an industry, should be proud of our contribution.”

Read the full interview with Qatar Airways chief officer cargo Guillaume Halleux in the next edition of Air Cargo News by subscribing for free.

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