Qatar Airways looks to A330-200 conversions

QATAR Airways is considering whether or not to convert its A330-200 passenger aircraft into freighters.

The Middle Eastern carrier met with Airbus to discuss the proposal. Qatar’s chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, said that if the company goes ahead then it will create a conversion centre at the carrier’s Doha base.

Qatar Airways already has 16 passenger A330-200s and 13 -300s in service. Its freighter fleet consists of three A300-600Fs and it is to take delivery of three 777Fs, two within three months and the third in 2011.

“We are speaking to Airbus about a cargo conversion for the -200,” said Al Baker. “We hope to have the conversion centre in Qatar, at the new Doha Airport. The A300s will support the 777Fs, operating feeder services,” said Al Baker. “We plan to replace the A300s with A330Fs, hopefully from 2013.”

The 65 to 70 tonne A330-200F variant had its first flight in November and is just waiting for certification before it can start delivering the first of the 64 currently on order to Etihad in the summer.

Airbus freighter marketing manager Jonathan Lesieur, said that Qatar’s -200 conversions will be “an isolated case”. The manufacturer will instead develop an A330 cargo conversion programme focusing on the larger A330-300.

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