Qatar Airways Cargo has begun freighter flights to and from Australia due to strong demand for the nation’s pharmaceuticals and fresh produce during the COVID-19 crisis.
The twice-weekly journeys to Melbourne and Perth, with a tech stop at Singapore, will add 200 tonnes of main deck cargo capacity each week, each way. Previously, the airline operated belly-hold services.
This move brings the combined weekly capacity in and out of Australia to more than 550 tonnes.
Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar Al Baker, said, “During this time, we are seeing soaring demand for supplies nationwide, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the supply chain.
“We are pleased to provide these additional services to bring essential commodities, fresh produce, food products, and medical supplies to Australia as we face this public health crisis.
“We will also be transporting goods to other countries around the world, to meet the demand for Australian products, further supporting the local export industry.”
Last week, the airline announced it would add an extra 48,000 seats on passenger services from Doha to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane from 29 March until mid-April.
Qatar has been capitalising on the crisis by continuing many international services, and has launched a PR campaign around its efforts, called “taking you home”.
From next week, Qatar will be the only airline flying from London to Australia.