Qatar Airways Cargo transitions to a single-type fleet of aircraft

The world’s leading cargo airline shifts its fleet towards Boeing 777F and Boeing's new production freighter the 777-8F.

Qatar Airways Cargo transitions to a single-type fleet of aircraft
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In a move toward increasing operational efficiency and aiming for sustainability, Qatar Airways Cargo has begun a new phase of its fleet transformation. The airline has removed its entire existing fleet with Boeing 777F aircraft, while the Boeing 777-8 will serve as its future workhorse. Qatar Airways Cargo has placed an order for 34 Boeing 777-8F aircraft, with an additional option for 16 more, to expand its existing fleet of 27 Boeing 777 Freighters. The 28th 777F is set to join the fleet later this month.

Last month, The STAT Trade Times reported citing various sources that the cargo airline has transferred its two Boeing 747-8 freighter aircraft to United Parcel Service (UPS). In addition to the two Boeing 747-8Fs, the airline was also operating two Boeing 747-400Fs which were on lease from the Air ACT however according to the airline’s official website and data from, the airline is now only operating a fleet of 27 Boeing 777F aircraft as of March. This indicates that the leasing period of these aircraft may have ended, and the airline was intending to phase out these quad-engine jets also.

Additionally, the airline was the operator of one Airbus A310F which has also been phased out from its fleet. In an exclusive interview with The STAT Trade Times on the sidelines of the Air Cargo India exhibition and conference in Mumbai recently, Liesbeth Oudkerk, Senior Vice President of Cargo Sales and Network Planning at Qatar Airways Cargo, further confirmed this news, “So in March, we will be phasing out our last 747-8 freighter, so it will go out of service. Then we will be operating only a fleet of B777Fs. As you know, we have an order for 50 B777-8 freighters. So then we will be operating only one type of aircraft, and we are very happy that it's very efficient. Our freighters now fly more than 17 hours a day, so we are extremely happy with the B777Fs,” said Liesbeth.

In response to the question of whether the recent decision to remove B747-8 freighters from the fleet was driven by cost considerations or sustainability standards, Liesbeth stated, "In my opinion, having one single fleet operating is efficient for everybody. For example, you can see that it's very difficult in the network during the day of operations to plan with a single aircraft. Sometimes there will be an aircraft on the ground (AOG), operating on a specific route, which cannot be allocated efficiently. So, transitioning to one fleet type is a smart decision for airlines, especially in terms of moving towards more efficient aircraft. Starting with only two engines is a good step forward.”

Notably, this is not the first removal that has happened in the Qatar Airways Cargo fleet composition; the cargo carrier had earlier operated five A330-200 freighters. The airline had originally intended to phase out five freighters gradually, with the first departure from the fleet planned for April 2020 and the last one for November 2020. However, the Covid-19 pandemic and delays in receiving new B777 freighters, ordered at the 2019 Paris Air Show, led to a change in the plan. In August 2020, the Hungarian government acquired one of the five A330 freighters from Qatar Airways Cargo, while the airline removed its remaining four Airbus A330-200 freighters by January 2021.

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