Qatar Airways Cargo is set to begin two weekly scheduled B777F cargo flights from Doha to Kansai International Airport (KIX) and from KIX to Hong Kong (HKG) from 15 January, marking its entry into the Japanese market.
For the Hamad International Airport (DOH) based carrier this will be its first maindeck service to Japan. The airline is also scheduled to relaunch its passenger services between KIX and Doha in April 2020 for the first time in four years.
The B777 freighter will depart Doha on Tuesdays and Fridays each week, arriving in Osaka on the following day, and returning via Hong Kong. Approximately 200 tonnes of cargo capacity will be offered each way per week, benefitting importers and exporters with increased capacity on the route.
Qatar Airways chief officer cargo, Guillaume Halleux says: “2019 has been a great year for Qatar Airways Cargo and we are glad to start 2020 with the announcement of freighters to Osaka, a major financial centre in Japan.
“Japan is an important part of our network where we already operate daily passenger flights to both Haneda and Narita airports in the capital city, Tokyo. With direct flights to Osaka, our customers are offered dedicated freighter capacity for their cargo to and from Japan,” Halleux adds.
The airline has a strong belly-hold presence in Asia Pacific with 35 destinations served by the Qatar Airways passenger network and a freighter network of 10 destinations. The new destination Osaka will increase the carrier’s freighter network in Asia Pacific to 11 destinations.
Qatar Airways Cargo currently offers more than 250 tonnes of belly-hold cargo capacity each way to Haneda and Narita airports in Tokyo per week. The new freighters to Osaka will boost cargo capacity to over 450 tonnes weekly to and from Japan. General cargo, hi-tech goods, electronics, pharmaceuticals and perishables will form the majority of exports and imports on the route.
Qatar Airways Cargo has an extensive scheduled road transport network offering alternative routes to over 290 airports around the world. Overnight truck routes are available connecting Osaka with Tokyo Haneda, Tokyo Narita and Nagoya Chubu, six days a week.
Last year was a successful year for Qatar Airways Cargo and the carrier wrapped up the year with an extremely busy peak season helping deliver cargo for its global customers all around the network, it notes.
Focusing on “customer centricity,” the cargo carrier is expanding its network globally, having recently announced a major expansion in South America with four new freighter destinations Campinas (Brazil), Santiago (Chile), Bogotá (Colombia) launching on 16 January 2020 and Lima (Peru) launching soon.
Five more B777 freighters will join its fleet from April 2020 onwards making it one of the largest freighter operators globally.
Meanwhile, Kansai Airports – which also operates Osaka International Airport (ITM) and Kobe Airport (UKB) – says it will continue to, “expand its cargo carrier network for greater convenience of cargo owners and freighters while striving to contribute to the economic development of Kansai and destination cities.”
In December 2019, KIX announced that Sichuan Airlines began operating cargo flights operation from Nantong (NTG) to KIX and from KIX to Chengdu (CTU) from 9 December.
The Chinese Chengdu-based carrier chose KIX as its first destination in Japan for their scheduled cargo flights in addition to the passenger flights they have been serving to and from Chengdu and Xi’an (XIY). The new launch of cargo operation is expected to accommodate actively growing air transport demand between Japan and China, according to KIX.
For the month of November KIX handled a total cargo volume 70,511 tonnes, down 11 per cent year-on-year, with International cargo volume at 69,162 tonnes, down 11 per cent.
Kansai Airports Group is composed of 16 companies, including Kansai Airports. Kansai Airports was established by a consortium with VINCI Airports and ORIX Corporation as its core members.