COVID-19 impacted the aviation industry severely. Travel demand is slowly climbing, but its levels will be nowhere near before COVID-19 hit the airline and travel sectors. However, airlines are looking towards cargo to keep their operations sustainable. Qatar Airways officially announced the expansion of its cargo fleet. The airline’s cargo carrier welcomed three brand new Boeing 777 freighters.
Qatar Airways Cargo now has a total of 30 aircraft solely for freight. Its fleet consists of two Boeing 747s, 24 777s and four Airbus A330s. In addition, the Qatari cargo carrier plans to introduce the new freighters on long-haul routes. Finally, the airline will fly cargo charters for temperature and time-sensitive goods using the brand new, modern fleet.
“With the arrival of these new freighters, we are injecting much-needed capacity in the market helping support global supply chains at a critical time during the pandemic. The added capacity will enable us to support the logistics around the COVID-19 vaccination which is projected to be one of the greatest logistical challenges for the industry,” Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said. “ The 777F’s fuel-efficiency, long-range and high capacity will support our airline to be more sustainable and operate additional non-stop flights to further destinations around the world, facilitating the movement of time and temperature-sensitive goods. With our investments in innovation and fleet, we are able to fulfill our customers’ logistical requirements and support the continuity of global trade.”
The Boeing 777 freighter is an efficient, long-range, and high-capacity freighter. Additionally, the General Electric GE90-110B1 – known for being the world’s most powerful commercial jet engine – powers the aircraft. The 777F has a revenue payload capability of more than 102 metric tonnes. It can fly 4,970 nautical miles (9,200 kilometers). Furthermore, the aircraft can carry a full payload of 224,900 lbs (102,010 kgs) at general cargo market densities (more than 10 pounds per cubic foot). The aircraft is notable for being the world’s longest-range twin-engine freighter.
The carrier’s new, modern aircraft provides them the opportunity to continue flight operations. COVID-19 has drastically lowered travel demand. However, there is a large necessity for air cargo. Medical supplies, food, perishables and other vital goods need to be delivered to different parts of the world.
While pre-COVID-19 travel demand levels will not return for a couple of years, the airline industry has shifted accordingly to operating air cargo. It is a different sector of the airline industry. If Qatar Airways continues this trend, it has set itself up for success.
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