Qatar outlines expansion plans and target markets

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Qatar Airways Cargo is to expand its freighter and bellyhold network across the globe including in China and is to develop a new European hub at Luxembourg Airport.

During a press conference at Air Cargo China on 14 June, the carrier’s head of cargo, Ulrich Ogiermann says the carrier, which runs a freighter to Guangzhou three times a week, will switch to a Boeing 777 Freighter from an Airbus A330 Freighter.

This he says is operated to make up for lost capacity as it is switching its bellyhold route to an Airbus A380 into Guangzhou from 1 July. Qatar will then have 300 tonnes a week into the city, adding to the 1720 tonnes into Hong Kong, 400 tonnes into Shanghai and into other Chinese cities.

He adds: “We have capacity for 3,200 tonnes into China. There are discussions between our authorities and the Chinese authorities to do some. We are optimistic about the Chinese economy and want to play a major role in it.”

Ogiermann says it is also targeting developing routes into Australasia and the Transpacific, and a new market in South America. He says: “We want to get into markets two are currently not serving. We want to open up South America, which is a white spot on our network. We want to invest heavily in new territories and we want to have a significant stake in that market we go into.”

All types of cargo will be on the radar, especially specialist freight such as pharma, perishables and animal transportation.

Ogiermann says Qatar is also targeting setting up and developing a new base at Luxembourg Airport and will double flights into and out of the European gateway.

The airline will also expand in North America and next month on 19 July will begin freighter operations to Halifax (Canada) and New York’s JFK airport.

At Air Cargo China Qatar launched a new product QR Live for animal transportation and Ogiermann says it will further roll out QR Express after launching at Heathrow. He also sees potential for three more specialist services, but would not reveal the carrier’s thinking, as feels it is important to differentiate from competitors.

He notes Qatar is on track to build a second cargo terminal in Doha by the fourth quarter of 2018, expanding itscapacity to 4.4 million tonnes, by adding three million tonnes.

The carrier has 19 freighters, but will have 22 in nine months as it adds a 10th Boeing 777 Freighter in July, an 11th in October and 12th in 2017.