Qatar Airways has begun cargo operations using its brand new Boeing B777 Freighter, with the plane’s first flight departing from Doha for Amsterdam early Tuesday morning.
The new cargo freighter was delivered to the airline’s hub at Doha International Airport over the weekend following a non-stop flight from Boeing Everett factory in Seattle, Washington.
The B777F is the latest addition to the Qatar Airways fleet, now numbering 83 aircraft, and adds significant capacity to the airline’s burgeoning freighter network.
The new aircraft has a payload capacity of 102 metric tons, almost double the capability of the airline’s Airbus A300-600 freighters.
Over the coming weeks, the new freighter is set to operate to several of Qatar Airways Cargo’s dedicated freighter network points, including Amsterdam, Lahore, Dubai , Karachi, Chennai, Sialkot, Frankfurt, Amman and, from 1 June three weekly freighter services to Hong Kong .
Beyond, the new Boeing freighter will be used primarily on long haul routes connecting East and West transportation lanes, extending from Hong Kong in the Far East to the United States in the West.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the delivery of the new freighter signalled a dramatic shift in the airline’s cargo business.
“The capacity of the Boeing freighters is unrivalled and the plane’s economics make it an attractive addition to the Qatar Airways’ fleet.”
“It’s an opportune time to be introducing more cargo capacity to our fleet as the State of Qatar is growing at a phenomenal pace, as are other parts of the Gulf region, and we are primed to take advantage of this growth.”
“With a total of three new triple seven freighters joining the fleet in a little over 12 months, the airline’s dedicated cargo capacity will effectively quadruple in size,” said Al Baker.
The Boeing freighter has the longest range of any twin-engined freighter, and is based around the B777-200 Long Range aircraft of which Qatar Airways has six in its passenger fleet operating the airline’s ultra long-haul routes to Houston, Melbourne, and from June 24 Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires.
Al Baker added that the cargo facilities at New Doha International Airport will further cement the airline’s position as a key player in the region. The new airport is scheduled to be operational from the end of 2011.
“Qatar Airways is looking forward to capitalising on the growth in the region and subsequent demand for quick, efficient transportation of goods.
“The state of the art facilities at New Doha International Airport will further complement Qatar Airways’ cargo fleet growth as we develop our world class transportation hub.”
Qatar Airways has 16 Boeing B777 aircraft in its passenger fleet with the delivery schedule for the full order of 32 B777s, including a total of three freighters, to be completed by the end of summer 2011.
In addition, Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 83 aircraft to 89 diverse cities across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and North America. The airline has over 200 aircraft pending delivery with the orders worth more than US$40 billion.
*Images courtesy of Boeing