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Qatar Airways and Emirates will extend the contest to the $68bn airfreight market by turning their bases into global cargo hubs. Emirates, the world's biggest airline by international passenger traffic, aims to add as many as 18 cargo planes in Dubai, while Doha-based Qatar Air is converting 15 passenger jets to freighters and buying 33 percent of Cargolux Airlines International, Europe's biggest freight-only carrier. The plans are sounding alarm bells at companies already under pressure as Emirates builds a fleet of 90 superjumbos and Qatar awaits delivery of 200 jets worth $35bn as part of a bid to persuade travelers to fly via the Gulf instead of London, Paris and Frankfurt. SkyTeam Cargo, which includes the freight arm of Air France-KLM Group, is concerned about the expansion.
In other air cargo news, Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines says it plans to launch an all cargo carrier this year. Specifics were not available but it is anticipated the operating base will be Shanghai, the largest and most lucrative cargo market in China. Last year the airline shifted its cargo base from to Shanghai where it operates a freighter fleet of seven aircraft, two B747Fs and five B777Fs. It has reached an agreement with Boeing to buy six 777 freighters for the new venture.
With Latin American economies showing solid growth, UPS is expanding its presence throughout the region. In May, it increased its cargo capacity by more than 50 percent on 19 weekly flights into Central and South America, replacing B757 narrow-body aircraft with a new B767 wide-body freighter. The flights originate from the carrier's hub in Miami and operate to Quito and Guayaquil, Ecuador; Bogota, Colombia; Panama; Guatemala; and Managua, Nicaragua.
Source: AirWaves Weekly
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