* The increase in freight handled, as well as a significant increase in cargo yield, also saw the carrier’s cargo revenues more than double
Qatar Airways Cargo has seen a 4.6% rise in freight tonnes handled over the previous fiscal year (2019/20), with nearly 2.73mn tonnes (chargeable weight) handled in 2020/21.
This increase in freight handled, as well as a significant increase in cargo yield, also saw the carrier’s cargo revenues more than double, the national airline said Monday.
From April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, the world’s leading cargo carrier helped transport over 500,000 tonnes of medical equipment, PPE and aid.
As global air freight capacity dropped significantly at the start of the pandemic, Qatar Airways Cargo continued operating its full fleet of freighters, along with belly-hold flights and passenger freighters to maintain global supply chains, the airline said in its ‘Annual Report 2021’.
In addition, the cargo carrier converted six Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft into mini freighters to further support the international air freight market.
During the peak of the pandemic, the airline operated a record 183 flights a day in May 2020. In total, Qatar Airways Cargo operated more than 1,100 charters during 2020/21 carrying over 53,000 tonnes of essential aid, medical supplies, food and live animals among other cargo. This agility, resiliency, determination and innovative thinking saw the airline continue to be the world’s largest air cargo carrier, accounting for 9% of the market share in March 2021, according to IATA data.
With the pandemic causing a substantial decline in international passenger demand, the airline’s freight business has been a significant contributor to Qatar Airways Group’s revenue streams, maintaining the commercial viability of many of the airline’s global passenger routes.
Recognising its leadership and responsibility along with the impact the world’s leading air cargo carrier could have on communities around the world and future generations, Qatar Airways Cargo introduced its sustainability project ‘WeQare’ in June 2020.
In May 2020, the carrier signed a two-year pact to support UNHCR to transport crucial aid supplies to those most in need during these difficult times. The carrier has transported more than 20mn doses of Covid-19 vaccines to over 25 countries.
In January this year, the airline’s cargo fleet was expanded with the addition of three Boeing 777 freighters, which arrived in convoy on the first day of the year.
These new aircraft significantly enhance Qatar Airways Cargo’s operational capability, injecting much needed capacity in the market to support global supply chains at a critical time during the pandemic. According to the annual report, digitalisation is one of the key pillars of the airline’s strategy and it is modernising all processes to ensure efficiency, data accuracy and an enhanced customer experience.
The freight carrier introduced several initiatives including online rate distribution, ad hoc rate automation, track and trace and availability via API.
In February, Qatar Airways Cargo took a major digital leap, providing forwarders with real-time pricing, capacity, and eBookings via WebCargo, marking a milestone in air cargo digitalisation.
The cargo carrier won ‘Cargo Airline of the Year’ and ‘Air Cargo Industry Achievement Award’ at the Air Cargo Week World Air Cargo Awards Event 2021.