Qatar Airways became the first Middle Eastern carrier to resume its scheduled belly-hold cargo operations to China in response to increased demand as production in there starts returning to normal.
Qatar Airways said the belly-hold cargo flights — to be operated using B777-300ER planes — will proceed on a turnaround basis assuming the routes’ previously assigned flight numbers and frequencies, without any cabin crew members or passengers on-board.
Belly-hold flight schedule
Supplementing the already-robust cargo payload offered on Qatar Airways’ existing four freighter routes to China, the recommencement of belly-hold service will add significant cargo capacity to six cities that include Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing and Hangzhou.
The Doha -Beijing, Doha-Shanghai and Doha-Guangzhou services will be operated seven times a week, while the Doha-Chendu and Doha-Hangzhou four times weekly. The Doha-Chongqing service will be operated three times per week.
Qatar said the belly-hold operation will add 600 tonnes of weekly capacity, bringing the combined weekly capacity out of the country to more than 1300 tonnes.
Belly-hold cargo service to Beijing resumed on 30 March, services to Shanghai, Hangzhou and Chengdu will resume on 31 March and Guangzhou and Chongqing will resume on 01 April.
Qatar said the decision to reinstate belly-hold service to six of its passenger destinations in the country is in line with airline’s initiative to continue supporting worldwide connectivity, re-establishing the global supply chain, and meeting the market’s strong demand for freight exports and imports.
Transport of medical supplies, equipment
This includes the transportation of urgent medical relief aid that is pivotal to the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are pleased to resume belly-hold cargo operations to China ... in addition to our dedicated freighter service, the extra belly-hold availability leveraging the flexibility and reliability of our fleet will greatly enhance our cargo handling capacity in China to support market’s soaring demand for imports and exports, including the urgent outbound shipment of essential commodities, fresh produce, food products, and a large proportion of medical supplies to other parts of the world that are currently facing the public health crisis,” said His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways Group chief executive.
For this belly-hold operations, Qatar repurposed its passenger-configurated jets from its modern fleet for cargo transportation.