All three services will be operated by the Airbus A330 freighter, with the Lagos and Accra cargo route being operated twice weekly, beginning at Doha to Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos onward to Kotoka International Airport in Accra. The aircraft will then make a scheduled stop in Europe before returning to Doha.
The main exports from Accra, in Ghana, mainly include agricultural produce, as well as oil, gold, cocoa, timber, tuna, bauxite, aluminium, magnesium ore, diamonds and horticultural products, whereas imports include capital equipment and refined petroleum. Ghana is set to become the largest producer of cocoa in the world, and is currently the seventh largest producer of gold, making it a crucial cargo hub.
Lagos on the other hand is Nigeria’s economic hub, with exports including petroleum, cocoa and rubber, with exports including textiles, manufactured goods, food, machinery and transport equipment.
Three-times weekly direct freighters to Guangzhou also commenced operations on December 3, 2014. The city is the capital and largest city of Guangdong province in South China, and is an important industrial base in china, as well as a huge industrial manufacturing centre.
Exports from the city include high-end manufacturing products, high-tech products, biotechnology, aerospace technology, software and automobiles. Imports include garments, auto parts, fashion accessories, pharmaceuticals and perishables, with the largest trade fair in China – the China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair) held in Guangzhou every year.
Ulrich Ogiermann, Qatar Airways Chief Officer Cargo said: “There is clearly huge potential in the West African states of Nigeria and Ghana as well as China. Our focus is to improve connectivity and provide a growing network of destinations and quality operations to our customers.
In addition to the new routes, the cargo airline has recently expanded its frequencies to Erbil in Iraq, Kolkata in India, Delhi in India and Istanbul in Turkey. Qatar Airways Cargo will also add frequency on its Houston – Liege – Doha freighter route.
“With the introduction of scheduled freighter services to Lagos, Accra and Guangzhou, Qatar Airways Cargo will be able to provide air transportation services to even more industries worldwide on our growing network of more than 140 destinations.”
From December 2014, freighter frequencies to Brussels, Chennai, Johannesburg, Nairobi and Shanghai will be increased.
Lagos, Guangzhou and Accra will bring up the total dedicated freighter destinations to 46 from Qatar Airways Cargo hub in Doha. The airline’s cargo fleet includes four Airbus A330’s and seven Boeing 777 freighters.