Qatar Cargo bursts through one million tonnes mark

Qatar Cargo bursts through one million tonnes mark

Qatar Cargo bursts through one million tonnes mark

QATAR Airways Cargo’s relentless expansion is paying off, as the Middle East airline’s airfreight business soared to 1.15 million tonnes in its last financial year, exceeding its uplift of 0.95 million in the previous 12 months.

The improvement came as Qatar Cargo extended the reach of its global network during the last financial year with the addition of six new freighter routes, the launch of belly-hold services to 10 new destinations, and increases in frequencies on a string of existing routes, writes Thelma Etim.

The expansion continued at the start of 2017, with the cargo division introducing new freighter services to Buenos Aires, São Paulo and Quito in South America and to Miami in the USA.

Currently serving more than 50 destinations with its dedicated freight services, along with 150 belly-hold [passenger] destinations worldwide, Qatar is due to take delivery of its 13th B777F in 2018, thereby growing its fleet of freighters to 22.

As part of its overall growth strategy, the carrier is among the group of elite cargo airlines investing heavily in the pharmaceuticals market. With global medicine spending projected to reach nearly U$1.5 trillion by 2021, this niche cargo sector has produced consistent returns.

Qatar Cargo launched a new mobile app in 2016

In addition to its specialised QR Pharma product, the Doha-based airline is currently erecting a 2,471-sq m Climate Control Centre for other time- and temperature-sensitive products at its hub Hamad International Airport, which already houses segregated temperature-controlled storage areas for a range of services such as perishables, live animals, and high-value shipments.

The facility processed 1.8 million tonnes in 2016/17 and this figure is expected to increase to 4.4 million annually, when the second cargo terminal is complete, says the carrier.

Qatar Cargo has also made a number of technological advancements in the period, among them a web-based platform which allows customers to make online bookings, manage their accounts, and conduct other transactions; and the launch of a new mobile app, which affords direct access to freighter schedules.

Commenting on the carrier’s overall performance Akbar Al Baker, chief executive of Qatar Airways Group, describes the figures as “an outstanding result” in the airline’s latest financial report.

“I am very pleased to report that Qatar Airways Group increased its year-on-year net profit by 21.7 per cent and increased its annual revenue by 10.4 per cent,” he adds.

In reference to the current political disagreement with neighbouring states, he goes on to say: “In early June 2017, four countries, namely the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and the Arab Republic of Egypt, took steps to sever diplomatic ties with the State of Qatar, and also closed transport connectivity by road, sea and air to these countries from the State of Qatar.

“Qatar Airways continues to operate to the rest of its network as per its published schedules, with day-to-day adjustments for operational and commercial efficiencies, which is standard airline practice,” he concludes.