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Qatar Airways to Expand Cargo Capacity 40% With 7 Planes in 2013

March 12 (Bloomberg) -- Qatar Airways Ltd, the second-biggest Gulf carrier, said it will receive seven new freight aircraft this year as it expands its cargo-carrying capacity by 40 percent.

The airline has already received a new Airbus A330, Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said at a conference in the Qatari capital of Doha. Two more A330s will be delivered in the coming weeks and three additional by the end of the year. The company will also receive a Boeing 777 freighter by the middle of the year and will phase out three A300s, he said.

“We look forward to being among the top five air cargo operators in the world within the next five years,” Al Baker said in a statement.

Cargo transport, which is growing at 20 percent a year, accounts for 28 percent of Qatar Airway’s revenue, Al Baker said. The airline will start using a new $1 billion cargo complex on April 8 at the new $16 billion Hamad International Airport, which opens April 1.

The carrier’s cargo capacity will rise by 530 tons a day when the seven planes are received, Al Baker said. Qatar seeks to become a Persian Gulf transport hub before hosting the 2022 World Cup of soccer.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Tuttle in Doha at rtuttle@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lars Paulsson at lpaulsson@bloomberg.net

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