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Mon 1 Jan 2007 12:45 PM

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Qatar invests in freighters

Qatar Airways has placed an order for two Boeing 777 Freighters.

Qatar Airways has placed an order for two Boeing 777 Freighters. This follows the imminent arrival of a converted A300-600 Freighter and the launch early this year of several new cargo destinations.

"Qatar is a country of robust economic growth," said Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways. "While the cornerstone of our success has been focused on our passengers, we also recognise that the 777 Freighter brings asset value to our fleet as we address a growing regional freight market."

The 777 Freighter was launched in May 2005 and has so far bagged more than 50 orders. The plane is scheduled to enter service in the fourth quarter of 2008.

The 777F will have a planned range of 4,895 miles (9,065 km) with a full payload, which would make it the world's longest range twin-engine freighter. This, Boeing claims, makes the plane a very economical option for cargo operators dealing with higher fuel costs and fierce competition for landing spots.

The freighter boasts a maximum takeoff weight of 766,000 pounds (347,450 kg) and a revenue payload capability of 229,000 pounds (103.9 metric tons). It will accommodate 27 standard pallets (2.5 m x 3 m) on the main deck.

Industry-standard 10 foot high (3.1 m) pallets will be accommodated by the large main-deck cargo door. The lower cargo hold has the capacity for 10 pallets, as well as 17.0 m³) of additional bulk cargo. The 777F will also be designed to interline easily with the 747 Freighter.

"Seeing the 777 join Qatar Airways' fleet in both passenger and freighter variants truly underscores the fantastic operational efficiencies of this airplane," said Lee Monson, Boeing Commercial Airplanes' vice president of sales for the Middle East and Africa. "We're proud to have this very highly regarded airline select Boeing's 777."

Qatar Airways' first 777 Freighter is scheduled to arrive in 2009, around the time when Doha's new international airport officially opens. It will include new freight facilities designed to accommodate up to 750,000 tonnes of cargo annually with additional capability planned for later phases of development.

Qatar's new A300-600 Freighter, which was due to arrive in January, joins an existing A300-600F in the airline's freighter fleet. Amongst the destinations being added to the carrier's cargo network are Bangalore, Eldoret, Dubai, Dhaka, Frankfurt, Madrid, Milan, Nairobi, and Paris.

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