One of Qatar Airways’ A330-200Fs has been acquired by the Hungarian government, according to local publication Origo. The aircraft (1578) will reportedly be operated by low-cost carrier Wizz Air [FAT 005604].
Apart from a test flight around Doha (DOH) on Aug. 31, unit 1578 had not flown since being removed from service after mid-July. In early August, the carrier had told Cargo Facts that it did not have a comment on the aircraft at the time.
Citing Hungary’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Origo said the government had decided that the country needed more dedicated airfreight capacity in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The country is home to two cargo carriers — ASL Airlines Hungary and Fleet Air International — but neither has widebody freighters.
For the Hungary-based Wizz Air, the entry into the freighter market will be a significant step, even if it is limited to one aircraft that will predominantly be chartered or ACMI-leased by the government. The airline currently has a fleet of around 130 A320s and A321s, with various European bases and a newly established base in Abu Dhabi (AUH).
Wizz Air was not immediately available to comment.
Excluding unit 1578, Qatar Airways has four other owned A330-200Fs (1584, 1594, 1688 and 1708), all of which are actively flying. The carrier returned three leased units off lease to BOC Aviation last year, and had previously planned to use five 777Fs on firm order to consolidate the fleet. However, with CEO Akbar Al Baker declaring a moratorium on all new aircraft deliveries until at least 2022, it is unclear how those plans have changed. The carrier did not comment on the timeline for the withdrawal of the A330Fs.
We note that at least three of the five new 777Fs (66340, 66341 and 66870) have already been built and carried out test flights at Boeing’s facility in Everett (PAE) but are currently stored.
Qatar Airways Cargo’s freighter fleet now consists of two 747-8Fs, twenty-one 777Fs and four A330-200Fs.
The following is our list of A330-200F operators.
|wdt_ID||Operating carrier||Region||Number in fleet||Number on order|
|∑ = 36||∑ = 4|
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