The Qatar Airways cargo division has announced it will begin scheduled dedicated freighter services to three North American destinations – Atlanta, Houston and Toronto.
The new North American services will be operated with the Qatar Airways Boeing 777 freighter aircraft and will fly from the airline’s hub in Doha via Luxembourg.
Atlanta and Houston will be served with twice-weekly flights from the 2nd November, while the Toronto services will begin five days later on 7th November. In North America, Qatar Airways currently operates dedicated freighters only to Chicago.
The carrier also flies daily non-stop passenger services to Houston, New York and Washington, together with thrice-weekly flights to Montreal, offering sufficient cargo space in the belly of the aircraft.
Meanwhile the Qatar Airways passenger services to Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be supplemented with a weekly cargo flight, effective from the 30th October.
In addition, extra cargo flights will operate to Chicago, Colombo, Bahrain, Dammam, Hong Kong and Tehran from the 30th October.
Over the past few months, Qatar Airways Cargo has significantly ramped up its expansion with increased frequencies and the order for a further three Boeing 777 freighter aircraft. Recent frequency increases have been implemented to Kuwait, Bengaluru, Kozhikode and Hanoi.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said that the airline’s dedicated cargo network was an extension of the airline’s strategy to develop its global air transport business.
“With the recent completion of our 35 per cent stake in Cargolux, Europe’s largest cargo airline, we have increased our focus on freighter operations, which ties seamlessly into the airline’s strategy to have as many connecting points across the globe from our Doha hub,” said Al Baker.
“We have identified tremendous route expansion opportunities around the world, including North America where the freighter market is huge.”
Qatar Airways Cargo currently has a fleet of three Airbus A300-600 cargo aircraft and two Boeing 777 freighter jets.
The Boeing 777F aircraft has the longest range of any twin-engined freighter, and is based on the Boeing 777-200 Long Range aircraft, of which Qatar Airways has nine in its passenger fleet operating the airline’s ultra long-haul passenger routes to Houston, Melbourne, Montreal, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires.
Qatar Airways will expand its passenger services to Entebbe in Uganda from the 2nd November; and Chongqing, the airline’s fifth gateway in China, from the 28th November.
Flights to Baku and Tbilisi, the capitals of Azerbaijan and Georgia respectively, will be launched on the 1st February next year. By 2013, Qatar Airways plans to serve more than 120 destinations worldwide with a fleet of over 120 aircraft. The airline currently has a fleet of 100 aircraft flying to over 100 destinations.