Qatar Airways Cargo has transported the country’s first two shipments of 230 Holstein cows from Europe on a Boeing 777F as part of a project to set up a new dairy industry in Qatar.
These initial shipments are part of a 4,000-head herd that will be making their way to Qatar, as it looks to get around the air, land and sea blockade implemented by its Gulf neighbours Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.
Last week, Qatar Airways Cargo operated a charter flight to transport Hungarian pedigree calves from Budapest to Qatar for breeding purposes. The cargo carrier has been appointed to charter more than 20 cattle shipments from Europe, the US and Australia in the next few weeks.
Upon arrival at Hamad International Airport (HIA), the cattle are carefully transferred to Baladna Farm, a huge livestock farm in Qatar.
Qatar Airways chief officer for cargo, Ulrich Ogiermann says: “It is with utmost pride that we were given the opportunity to offer our expertise and services to support this momentous project.
“We are truly a part of history, helping launch the country’s newest industry, producing dairy products to meet local demand. The cattle charters involve a great deal of skill and coordination to ensure the flight from the points of origin to Doha was smooth and safe.
“With our extensive freighter fleet and state-of-the-art cargo facility at our Doha hub, we were able to meet our client Baladna Farm’s requirements with tailor-made solutions to transport the cattle from various continents swiftly into Doha.”
Power International Holding chairman, Moutaz Al Khayyat says: “We are proud to expand the dairy industry in the State of Qatar, and are thankful to Qatar Airways Cargo for the expedient, safe and secure transportation of the cattle that have now safely arrived at their new home, Baladna Farm.
“With the arrival of the dairy cows, we aim to meet 30-35 per cent of the imported milk demand in the country within two months.”
Baladna is a subsidiary of Power International Holding, and has built special cowsheds with a temperature control system to ensure a comfortable environment for the cattle. Baladna Farm, built over 700,000 square metres, includes 40,000 Awassi sheep. The farm also houses 5,000 goats and an animal feed mill yielding 100 tonnes per day.
The blockade against Qatar has seen Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt close their airspaces to Qatar, while Saudi has closed its land border, in which near half of Qatar’s imports came from. Each accused Qatar of supporting terrorist groups – which it denies.
Last month the four countries made a 13-point ultimatum to Qatar including closing a Turkish military base, shutting the Al Jazeera media network and ending relations with Iran. Qatar called the demands “unreasonable” and said it infringed on its “sovereignty”.