IAG Cargo is to purchase capacity on Qatar Airways-operated air cargo freighters, from 1 May.
Qatar Airways will operate five B777F flights a week between Hong Kong and London on behalf of IAG Cargo, providing continuity of service for IAG Cargo customers.
The agreement follows IAG’s decision to transfer freighter operations from its current provider, Global Supply Systems.
IAG chief Willie Walsh said: “This agreement ensures our customers in Hong Kong will see a smooth transition from the current arrangements to the Qatar Airways flights.”
“With the on-going arrival of our next generation aircraft, IAG Cargo’s customers will now benefit from increased belly-hold capacity as well as the deployment of freighter services on capacity constrained routes.”
Qatar Airways is already a partner with IAG through the oneworld global alliance which it joined in October 2013. The airline is taking delivery of a further three B777F aircraft during 2014.
IAG Cargo is ending its agreement with Global Supply Systems,under which it has leased three B747-8 freighter aircraft, from the end of April.
“We have reviewed our long haul freighter programme following the merger of British Airways and Iberia freight businesses to create IAG Cargo,” saidSteve Gunning, CEO of IAG Cargo.
“The review took account of the growing cargo capacity available to us from our passenger fleet as well as the outlook for the air freight industry overall and we have made the strategic decision to significantly revise our long-haul freighter programme.I would also add that we greatly value the support we have received from GSS over the years.”
Rod Lynch, chairman & CEO ofGSSsaid:“GSS is proud of its twelve years of freighter operation for British Airways World Cargo then IAG Cargo. Although we are sorry to see the relationship end we understand IAG Cargo’s decision and will now direct GSS towards new opportunities.”
*Amsterdam Airport Schiphol experienced 3.2 per cent growth in cargo traffic in 2013, with the total of 1,531,089 tonnes. The airport’s Asia business was up 7.1 per cent to 601,442 tonnes, which represented almost 40 per cent share of all cargo traffic. Senior VP cargo EnnoOsinga said: ”These results show that we have turned the corner in 2013. Although the very high volumes of the most recent months have been driven mainly by electronics, and new products such as the Xbox2 and PlayStation 4, there has also been an underlying increase in general cargo since the middle of 2013 which gives us confidence that we are in a long-term recovery.”