Qatar Airways has chalked out a blueprint to convert up to 20 of its A330 passenger planes to freighters, according to Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker. He was speaking at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai. That will take the Qatar’s air cargo operations to a new level, having bought 35 percent stake in freight carrier Cargolux Airlines International last year.
Al Baker said that a formal announcement could be made at the Farnborough air show in July this year. “We are in talks with EFW (EADS EFW in Germany), negotiations are going on about the delivery schedule. We should be able to come up with something at Farnborough. It should be about 15 to 20 aircraft,” said Al Baker.
The Qatar chief was taking the conversion opportunity after Airbus announced the “passenger-to-freight” option for the A330 at the February Air Show at Singapore, in a deal with Singapore’s ST Aerospace and EADS EFW of Germany.
Baker had, in fact, “threatened”, as the Reuters report said, to buy converted Boeing 767 freighters from Boeing if Airbus did not offer alternatives for converting its passenger jets.