Qatar Airways will soon take delivery of its fourth 777-200F, seen here taxiing out for a Boeing test flight along the pacific coast. The Doha-based carrier plans to expand its freighter fleet from six aircraft (3 777Fs and 3 A300-600Fs) to eleven over the next few years and this new freighter, A7-BFD (msn: 41427) is the first part of that expansion.
Qatar placed its first order for three 777 freighters in May of 2006, with the first two being delivered in the summer of 2010 and the third in October, 2011. A second order of three was placed in September of 2010, of which A7-BFD is the first delivery, while a third order for two further 777 freighters was placed in November of 2011.
Qatar also took a 35% stake in Luxembourg’s Cargolux last year and has thus far worked in concert with Cargolux to use both Qatar’s 777s and Cargolux’s 747s on a variety of routes, most notably Qatar Cargo’s routes to north America, which now operate via Luxembourg.
Qatar has also expressed keen and consistent interest in the Airbus A330 P2F program, recently announced, which suggests further expansion of the Cargo division is likely.
A7-BFD is the 1004th 777 built, with number 1000 having been delivered recently to Emirates and number 1002, a freighter, having been delivered to Southern Air last week.
Photographer: Alex Kwanten