Qatar Cargo sees volumes improve while revenues decline

By Damian Brett

Qatar Cargo saw its volumes increase during the last fiscal year despite being affected by the ongoing China-US trade war and the initial stages of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Doha-based cargo firm saw its air cargo volumes increase by 2.8% year on year to 1.5m tonnes to the year ending March 31 as it became the world’s largest international cargo carrier, according to IATA cargo tonne km stats.

The increase also bucks the trend experienced by other top cargo carriers with IATA stats for the calendar year 2019 showing a decrease of 2.1% in terms of tonnes carried amongst the top 25 cargo airlines.

While volumes were up, the airline was unable to escape the impact of lower rates in 2019 as its revenues for the fiscal year were dragged down by 1.3% to QR9.9bn.

The carrier said that it benefited from the addition of five B777 freighters during fiscal year 2019-20, while it also placed an order for five more.

Qatar also transported “significant amounts of relief cargo between January and March 2020 to support the global demand due to Covid-19”.

“The expansion of the Qatar Airways Cargo network continued with the addition of Singapore as a stop on its highly successful transpacific freighter route connecting Asia to North America,” the company said. “In November 2019, Qatar Airways Cargo further expanded its freighter network in South America, with the new destinations of Bogotá, Colombia; Campinas, Brazil; Lima, Peru; and Santiago, Chile.

“In addition, the carrier added Osaka, Japan as a new freighter destination in January 2020. The airline also launched eight new belly-hold cargo destinations during the financial year 2019-20, as well as increasing belly capacity on several routes.”

Meanwhile, the Qatar Airways Group turned in a pre-tax loss of QR6.96bn and a net loss of just over QR7bn for the financial year.

The Doha-based carrier says that, at the end of the fiscal year on March 31, 2020, its accumulated losses had exceeded 50% of its share capital – requiring the convening of an extraordinary general meeting.

This was held on September 24, during which the Qatari government provided an advance of QR7.3bn to the company through an issue of 730m shares.

While the coronavirus crisis has led to “significant operational restrictions” on the carrier, the company says that – based on the equity injection, the availability of external funding, and other measures taken – its management has prepared its accounts on a going-concern basis.

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