777s drive Qatar Airways growth

2010 was another year of major growth for Qatar Airways, with the airline “treading its own path, irrespective of otherairlines” according to its senior vice-president cargo, Dileepa Wijesundera.

Both passenger and cargo 777s played a major part in expansion with two 777 freighters joining the fleet in May and June and a third due in the second half of this year. The first two were deployed to Hong Kong, Amsterdam and Chicago – the latter being Qatar’s first all-cargo route to North America, with flights operating via Amsterdam.

The third freighter will be used to boost frequencies on these routes, but Wijesundera also hints at new markets under consideration. The existing two 777Fs also do some flying on regional routes within the Middle East and North Africa. “With its incredible amount of space, it gives us plenty of opportunities to capitalise on cargo to destinations far and wide,” Wijesundera says.

On the passenger side of the business 22 aircraft have joined the fleet since December 2009 and while some are A320s, the newcomers also include 777-200LRs and 777-300ERs, of which the carrier now has 21 in total, with five more to come.

New routes with the aircraft have included São Paulo and Buenos Aires, launched last June, and they also operate to New York, Chicago, Houston, Washington, London, Bangkok, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Manila, Osaka, Singapore and Melbourne.

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