“As 2021 draws to an end, Qatar Airways Cargo looks back on another eventful year. The American author and activist, Sharon Weil sums up the experience of the past 12-19 months best: ‘Navigating change is the new stability’. Qatar Airways Cargo has forged ahead with its strategic focus on growth, sustainability, and digitalisation in the face of uncertainty, and we are thankful to also draw our stability from the support our dedicated customers and employees have shown and continue to show on a daily basis. We know that Qatar Airways Cargo would not be able to navigate the many challenges and changes in our industry so successfully without you. For this, we thank you”, said Halleux.
The year in figures
January to November 2020 saw a tonnage growth of 3.78% in chargeable weight over the same period in 2019 while January to November 2021 saw an even higher growth of 13.42% over the same period last year. Qatar Airways Cargo transported 1,574,705 tonnes between January to November 2021... A significant part of the tonnage continued to be medical equipment, PPE, and critical supplies to combat the pandemic, including free medical aid to India at the height of the crisis there in April and May. So far, more than 500,000 tonnes of medical cargo have flown on board of Qatar Airways Cargo since the start of the pandemic. Among these, 500 million COVID-19 vaccines were transported throughout its network, out of which more than 72 million doses were flown under UNICEF’s COVAX programme, Qatar Airways Cargo signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UNICEF in February this year, covering 5 years of vaccine transport support.
Having received CEIV Pharma certification at the end of last year, Qatar Airways Cargo concentrated its efforts in further enhancing its Pharma product and industry presence. In June, it introduced Envirotainer’s Innovative Releye® RLP container, offering customers high-level yet cost-effective, sustainable cargo protection. In July, Qatar Airways Cargo became a member both of Pharma.Aero as well as the Cool Chain Association, in its endeavour to collaborate in defining the highest standards in the shipment of valuable pharma goods and ensuring sustainability in transportation by avoiding integrity deviations leading to medical or food wastage. Qatar Airways Cargo transported close to 72,000,000 kg of pharmaceuticals between 1 January 2021 to 30 November2021 – with a revenue increase of 8% comparedto the previous year During the same period, the airline transported close to 280,000,000 kg of perishables, an increase of 16% in revenue over the previous year.
All other products also saw positive growth in 2021, as the Qatar Airways passenger network began to resume operations once more to previously suspended destinations.
Network and fleet growth
The year began with a world premiere, as Qatar Airways Cargo took delivery of three brand new Boeing 777 freighters on a single day, bringing its total freighter fleet count to 34 freighters: two Boeing 747-8 freighters, 26 Boeing 777 freighters, and six B777-300ER mini freighters. Services to Saudi Arabia were resumed in January, for the first time since 2017, and Qatar Airways Cargo soon appointed General Sales Agents in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the Arab Republic of Egypt. In October, it increased its presence across Central Eastern Europe with the appointment of a new GSSA for Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Qatar Airways Cargo served over 60 freighter destinations in 2021, and together with Qatar Airways’ passenger or bellyhold cargo network of over 140 destinations,, the airline welcomed new destinations to the network this year, Almaty in Kazakhstan and Odesa in Ukraine being the most recent new destinations launched.
Its solid network and consistent high-level service earned Qatar Airways Cargo three awards - Cargo Operator of the Year at the ATW Airline Awards, and Cargo Airline of the Year as well as Air Cargo Industry Achievement Award at Air Cargo Week’s World Air Cargo Awards.
Investments in the future
Sustainability comes in many forms. In February, the second chapter of Qatar Airways Cargo’s WeQare sustainability programme “Rewild the Planet”, was launched, and in May a moving film tribute depicted the incredible journey of seven rescued lions from the Ukraine to South Africa. Not only is Qatar Airways Cargo currently planning the next complex and emotionally intense "Rewild the Planet" move, but it is also preparing to launch Chapter 3 of WeQare. More details will be disclosed early next year.
In November, Qatar Airways became the first carrier to join the IATA CO2NNECT platform, launching a new voluntary carbon offsetting programme for air cargo shipments. The first carbon neutral air cargo shipments were flown in cooperation with Qatar Airways Cargo’s launch customer, Kuehne+Nagel, on 1st November 2021.
Preparing a digital future, today
Qatar Airways Cargo underwent extensive digital enhancement during the year. In January, together with CHAMP Cargosystems and Agility, it completed the first phase of the IATA ONE Record pilot to showcase the initiative’s benefits and feasibility of defining a common API (Application Programming Interface) for all electronic platforms in use along the entire supply chain: This aims to standardise air cargo data exchange protocol for better data quality, control, transparency, and ease of connectivity. In a similar vein, in March, IATA launched its Enhanced Partner Identification and Connectivity (EPIC) platform to support the digitisation of the global air cargo supply chain. Qatar Airways Cargo provided key input during the project’s pilot phase and meanwhile 32 airlines, 94 freight forwarders, and other industry stakeholders have joined the growing community which will eventually bring about total digital transformation of the industry.
Throughout the first half of the year, Qatar Airways Cargo rolled out its capacities on the Freightos WebCargo third party eBooking platform, first across few selected countries in February, then throughout the European region in June, followed by the United States of America. in July, and finally the rest of the world in August, offering customers a real-time pricing and booking platform.Also in February, Qatar Airways Cargo became a premium member of Validaide, enabling its customers to make informed decisions on selecting the optimum routing for their time and temperature sensitive pharma shipments. Later, in August, Qatar Airways Cargo and WiseTech Global implemented a direct data connection to extends CargoWise’s direct airline integrations and improve digital data interaction.
The year ahead
Halleux, concluded: “Digitalisation will continue to be a core focus in 2022, since it is a major enabler in ensuring quality, speed, efficiency, excellent customer service, and flight safety. The latter will be further supported by our Unit Load Device (ULD) fleet rollover to Safran’s new, Fire Resistant Containers. We will continue to invest in the quality of our products, in our unrelenting push for highest quality standards in our industry, and will continue to collaborate with our customers, partners, and staff, to deliver true value to the market. For us at Qatar Airways Cargo, it is not enough to be the largest cargo airline; our mission is to be the world’s best cargo airline."
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