Qatar Airways is pouring on the freighter capacity, using all-cargo aircraft and passenger planes in cargo-only mode to meet high demand for moving fresh produce and meat, pharmaceuticals and general cargo in Australia, India, Kuwait, Oman and the Netherlands.
The elimination of most passenger flights due to the coronavirus pandemic and the need for medical supplies in many areas dictated the decision to augment cargo capacity. Trade moving between continents is transloaded at Qatar Airways’ Doha hub in the United Arab Emirates.
The airline’s cargo division announced this week that it is now operating twice-weekly freighters to Melbourne and Perth, Australia, with a refueling stop in Singapore. The Boeing 777-200 aircraft add 200 tons of cargo capacity each way to the 350 tons of cargo already carried in the lower deck of its passenger planes.
Qatar Airways Cargo is also deploying passenger aircraft carrying only cargo to and from India. There are five weekly flights to Mumbai, four weekly flights to Chennai, three weekly flights to Delhi and Begaluru, and two weekly flights to Hyderabad and Kolkata. The flights all use Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, except to Kolkata, which gets a Boeing 787-8.
The new flights will supplement existing freighter routes and add 415 tons of capacity, bringing the weekly total for the India market to 2,535 tons.
Qatar Airways has also doubled airfreight capacity to Kuwait and Muscat, Oman, with the use of passenger aircraft operating as freighters. Airbus A350-900 aircraft will fly daily on those routes, adding 250 tons of capacity to both countries.
The Netherlands is also getting more service, with 34 freighters each week, up from nine per week two weeks ago. The Boeing 777 and 747 freighters operate to Amsterdam (27 frequencies) and Maastricht (seven frequencies). The extra frequencies have added 5,000 tons of capacity on the route. Pharmaceuticals and perishables form the majority of exports from the Netherlands, while imports consist of medical equipment, vegetables, fruits and flowers, Qatar Airways Cargo said.