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Qatar Airways Cargo makes major announcements at Air Cargo Europe

Posted 10 May 2017 · Add Comment

Qatar Airways Cargo made several key announcements on the first day of Air Cargo Europe 2017, including plans to launch a transit facility for temperature-controlled shipments as well as the scheduled launch of weekly freighter service to London's Heathrow airport.

To perfect its specialist cool chain solution, Qatar Airways Cargo announced that it will soon be operating a brand new Climate Control Centre, a 2,470 square metre airside transit facility for temperature-sensitive cargo. The facility will feature two zones operating for 2°- 8°C or 15°- 25°C with capacity to hold a total of 156 ULDs (unit load devices) at a time. Segregated sections within the facility enable storage of pharmaceutical products in compliance with ‘good distribution practice’ (GDP) regulations. To ensure complete temperature integrity, the facility will be equipped with six truck docks, each with inflated curtains and an ante-room as a staging area. In response to the growth in global demand and to provide increased and dedicated uplift for Swiss pharmaceuticals, Qatar Airways Cargo added a fourth, weekly Basel-Doha, Pharma Express flight on 8 May, served by its Airbus A330 freighter.

Qatar Airways chief officer cargo, Ulrich Ogiermann told a well-attended press conference: “We are pleased to once again convene at Air Cargo Europe to meet and discuss business opportunities with our global customers and partners. Europe is a major market for Qatar Airways Cargo, and we have expanded our operations immensely by increasing our freighter flights to the prime European cities such as Luxembourg, Liege and Brussels in recent months. This includes the launch of our fourth Pharma Express flight weekly from Basel to Doha on 8 May. Ultimately, we aspire to be the preferred cargo service provider to connect our customers’ businesses across the globe with quality and speed via our state-of-the-art Doha hub.”

The opening of a dedicated transit facility for courier and mail products at Hamad International Airport was also announced. With a built-up size of 6,700 square metres and a capacity for 256,000 tonnes annually, the facility is complete with screening, handling and storage areas. The award-winning carrier’s cargo terminal 2 (CT2) project is underway with phase 1 scheduled to be completed in 2021. The ground-breaking CT2 has a build-up area of 110,000 square metres, which will boost the airline’s annual cargo capacity to 4.6 million tonnes, a significant increase of 3.2 million tonnes, from the current terminal’s annual capacity of 1.4 million tonnes.

Ogiermann also announced the launch of weekly Airbus A330 freighters to London Heathrow, due to commence on 3 June 2017. The carrier has operated freighters to London’s Stansted Airport since May 2014.

Ogiermann revealed that the world’s third largest international cargo carrier is poised to become a major global player in coming years by introducing four additional Boeing 777 freighters between September 2017 and March 2019, which will bring its total fleet count to 25. The new passenger destinations, which are set to launch soon in 2017, will contribute over 200 tonnes of weekly belly-hold capacity to its network.

Qatar Airways Cargo started 2017 by adding five new freighter destinations: Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Quito, Miami and Phnom Penh, while increasing frequencies to Brussels, Basel and Hong Kong in response to the growing air freight demand in these regions. The cargo carrier has seen a 21 per cent increase in tonnage from 2015 to 2016, due to the air cargo industry remaining competitive despite an underperforming economy.

Ogiermann stressed the importance of digitlisation and technology in air cargo. He highlighted the cargo carrier’s achievements of third position on IATA’s e-AWB volumes for the past 12 months, with an impressive 72 per cent penetration rate as of March 2017. Further, Qatar Airways Cargo is the first carrier to fully adopt and implement Cargo-XML messaging standards in its core management information system, which facilitates business efficiency through direct messaging with its worldwide customers.

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