Qatar Airways has begun cargo operations using the first of three Boeing 777 Freighters the airline has on order, the aircraft departing on its...

Qatar Airways has begun cargo operations using the first of three Boeing 777 Freighters the airline has on order, the aircraft departing on its first commercial flight from Doha to Amsterdam early on the morning of May 18.

The new freighter was delivered to the airline’s hub at Doha International Airport over the preceding weekend on a non-stop flight from Boeing’s widebody assembly line at Paine Field, Everett, Washington.


The 777F is the latest addition to the Qatar Airways fleet, which now numbers 83 aircraft, and adds significant capacity to the airline’s 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 andAmman. From June 1, it also will operate three weekly freighter services to Hong Kong.

Subsequently, 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' first Boeing 777F is photographed departing Paine Field for its non-stop delivery flight to Doha, Qatar on May 14. Qatar Airways has ordered three 777Fs

Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways’ chief executive officer, says the delivery of the new freighter signals 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,” says Baker. “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.”

The Boeing freighter has the longest range of any twin-engined freighter, and is based around the 777-200LR long-range passenger aircraft. Qatar Airways has six 777-200LRs in its passenger fleet operating the airline’s ultra-long-haul routes to Houston, Melbourne — and from 24 June, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires.

Al Baker says the cargo facilities at Qatar’s New Doha International Airport will further cement the airline’s position as a key player in the region. The new airport is scheduled to become operational at 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,” says Al Baker. “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 777s in its passenger fleet, with the delivery schedule for its full order of 32 777s (including the three 777 freighters) to be completed by the end of summer 2011. The airline already operates a modern fleet of 83 aircraft to 89 cities across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and North America. Qatar Airways has more than 200 aircraft on order and values its outstanding orders at more than $40 billion.

It will operate a fleet of 120 aircraft by 2013, by which time Qatar Airways says its global network will rise to 120 destinations. The airline has ordered 80 Airbus A350 XWBs, 24 Airbus A320-family aircraft, 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the 777s having started in November 2007.

The carrier is also a customer for the twin-deck Airbus A380 with five on order. These are scheduled for delivery from 2012, by which time the airline expects New Doha International Airport to have opened. For more information on the new airport, visit www.ndiaproject.com.

Qatar Airways Cargo provides cargo services to more than 100 destinations worldwide using the cargo space available on the Qatar Airways passenger aircraft fleet as well as a dedicated network operated by its Airbus A300-600F and Boeing 777F freighters. The airline’s cargo operation provides a global reach for customers in Africa, Europe, UK, USA, Middle East and Asia.

Qatar Airways Cargo has dedicated staff and facilities to ensure all transshipments are processed in an efficient, seamless manner. Transshipment facilities are used for products requiring special attention, such as perishables, high value commodities and live animals. The airline’s warehouse at Doha International Airport has the capacity to handle around 400,000 tons of cargo annually. For further information, go to www.qatarairwayscargo.com.