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Qatar Airways becomes the first Middle Eastern carrier to resume belly-hold cargo only operations to all of its destinations in China with the utilisation of wide-body and passenger-configurated aircraft effective 30 March 2020.

The additional cargo capacity is being added to the carrier’s existing freighter service amid increased demand for the shipment of immediate goods in and out of the region. 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. This includes the transportation of urgent medical relief aid that is pivotal to the global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Belly-hold cargo service to Beijing resumed on Monday (March 30), while services to Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Hangzhou and Chengdu will resume on 31 March.

“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 large proportion of medical supplies to other parts of the world that are currently facing the public health crisis,” said Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive.

The belly-hold cargo flights will be operated on a turnaround basis assuming the routes’ previously assigned flight numbers and frequencies, without any cabin crew members or passengers on-board. 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 with an additional 600 tonnes of weekly capacity added, bringing the combined weekly capacity out of the country to more than 1300 tonnes.

After Peoples Republic of China State Council’s announcement on 24 March to boost the nation’s international airfreight capabilities, stabilise supply chains and enhance cooperation with global airlines, Qatar Airways is the first Middle Eastern carrier to resume belly-hold operations to all of its destinations in China by repurposing the passenger-configurated jets from its modern fleet for cargo transportation.

With the upgraded capacity, more vital medical supplies and exports destined for the Middle East, Europe and the Americas will be flown by Qatar Airways’ efficient network via a seamless stopover at the cargo carrier’s world-class Doha hub.

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