Qatar Airways will launch dedicated freight routes to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Toronto Pearson International Airport from its Doha hub via Luxembourg next month. Twice-weekly freight flights to Atlanta and Houston will commence on November 2 while Toronto will enjoy weekly service beginning November 7.
The flights, which will be performed on Boeing 777F aircraft, represent a significant expansion plan for the Middle Eastern carrier. Previously, the only North American city served by Qatar Airways’ cargo division was Chicago. O’Hare International Airport will soon benefit from increased freight service, however, as Qatar increases its frequency to the Midwestern city on October 30.
“With the recent completion of our 35 percent 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,” Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker said in a statement.
“We have identified tremendous route expansion opportunities around the world, including North America, where the freighter market is huge,” he continued.
Representatives for the carrier said that daily passenger routes to New York, Washington and Houston, along with thrice-weekly service to Montreal, also offer significant bellyhold cargo capacity. Only Houston, however, necessitated a dedicated freight route to address demand.
Addressing demand was also why Qatar Airways selected Atlanta as a destination for freight service. As the 10th largest U.S. exporter to the Middle East last year, Atlanta offers Qatar Airways “a geographically desirable location for cargo carriers and freight forwarders that want to expand their global networks with lower operating costs,” Hartsfield-Jackson Aviation General Manager Louis Miller stated.
“Companies readily can connect with air, road and railway transportation systems in Atlanta,” Miller said in a statement. “The addition of Qatar Airways will further enhance our airport’s reputation as a leading cargo airport.”
North America isn’t the only cargo market Qatar Airways is eying, however. The Doha-based carrier recently increased its freight service to Kuwait, Bengaluru, Hanoi and Kozhikode, India. It will also launch weekly cargo service to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on October 30.