*Despite illegal blockade on country, Qatar Airways Cargo continues to fly high


Qatar Airways has seen a 160% increase in its cargo business since June this year compared to the same period in 2016, said group chief executive Akbar al-Baker, who stressed that the “blockade has had quite the opposite impact on Qatar Airways business to the one intended.”

“In early June this year, following the illegal blockade on my country, Qatar Airways Cargo immediately jumped into action, airlifting a huge number of unexpected food imports to Qatar. We are growing month-on-month and since 2015, we have been the third largest international cargo operator in the world,” al-Baker told a media event held as part of the delivery of Qatar Airways first 747-8 freighter at the Boeing’s production facility here.

“Our sights are set on number one,” al-Baker said.

Qatar Airways Cargo serves some 60 exclusive freighter destinations worldwide through its Doha hub and also delivers freight to more than 150 key business and leisure destinations globally with 200 aircraft. Currently, the Qatar Airways Cargo fleet includes eight Airbus A330 freighters, 12 Boeing 777 freighters and one Boeing 747 freighter.

Since June, al-Baker said, Qatar Airways Cargo continued to be the main provider of fresh food, medical equipment, medical supplies and many more.

“Our state-of-the-art cargo facility, one of the biggest in the world, showcased its strength in meeting this immediate demand without any issue, prompting our business as truly world class.

“Today’s addition of this Boeing 747-8 is particularly symbolic of this ongoing strength and growth of this airline as it is proudly adored with the image of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, a leader who has guided us through this siege with strength, dignity and prosperity for our nation.”

Al-Baker said, “This impressive aircraft is a welcome addition to our 20-strong cargo fleet of wide-bodied aircraft. Freighters carry more than half of the world’s cargo and as such we continue to invest heavily in the largest cargo aircraft with a second 747-8 due to be delivered shortly.

The 747-8 freighter gives cargo operators the lowest operating costs and best economics of any large freighter airplane while providing enhanced environmental performance.

It is optimised to provide greater revenue cargo-carrying capability than the 747-400, offering a 16% more cargo volume while keeping its unique nose door.

“This fleet expansion for Qatar Airways cargo aircraft goes hand in hand with the multi-million dollar investment in a second dedicated cargo hub in Doha, which is set to triple our current handling capacity.”

He also noted that Qatar Airways and Boeing have a good relationship.

“They make high-quality aircraft. And we are determined to fly high-quality aircraft, both on the commercial and cargo side.”

“The combined value of our fleet, both in service and intent at almost $90bn reflects our commitment to Boeing and our continued effort to meet and deliver aircraft in line with our existing standards,” he said.

“We are very appreciative of our enduring partnership with Boeing, as it is key to our future growth, and we look forward to continuing to work with this important US partner,” al-Baker added.

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