The Gulf State carrier said it would fly to Harstad-Narvik Airport (EVE) in northern Norway to help reduce transport times for seafood of the region. Harstad-Narvik Airport is located in Nordland county, Norway, and serves the cities of Harstad and Narvik. The airport is shared with the Royal Norwegian Air Force and has a 2,808-meter (9,213 ft) runway that can handle planes as large as the Boeing 747 and the United States Air Force C-5 Galaxy.
Qatar Airways plans to fly to Harstad-Narvik Airport three times a week on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. It says its three weekly flights can handle up to 150 tons of Norwegian seafood exports. On the flights out of Hamad International Airport (DOH), Qatar Airways says it can handle 50 tons of imports into Norway from its worldwide network.
When speaking about the seafood flights in the press release Chief Officer Cargo at Qatar Airways, Mr. Guillaume Halleux said,
“In cooperation with NordicGSA, our dedicated GSA for Norway, we are pleased to introduce cargo capacity and support Northern Norway’s seafood and salmon exporters who will benefit from direct connection to African, Asian, and Middle East markets via Doha. Our state-of-the-art Climate Control Centre has dedicated storage areas for perishables transiting the hub while the use of reefer trucks ensures a seamless cool chain for all perishable shipments.”
For its part in the venture, CEO at Perishable Center Nord AS, Mr. Stig Winther said,
“Perishable Center Nord AS is very pleased to cooperate with Qatar Airways Cargo. Operating more direct routes to and from the market will mean a lot for fresh seafood businesses from the North, and quality, freshness, and competitiveness will definitely improve. We are looking forward to start up, develop, and together with Qatar Airways Cargo make seafood from Northern Norway more available globally.”
Mr. Martin Langaas, Director of Traffic Development and Cargo at Avinor, said,
“Our partnership with Qatar Airways Cargo has been a true success story for Avinor and the Norwegian seafood industry. With the opening of a second gateway for seafood exports, the connectivity for Norway will improve further.”
By offering direct flights from northern Norway to Doha, the state-owned airline’s customers benefit from reduced transport times as the seafood can be shipped directly rather than traveling first to Oslo by ship or truck. Time is a crucial component when it comes to transporting perishables like fresh fish. Just to give you an idea of the distance, a truck would have to drive 1,688 kilometers (1,048 miles) from Harstad to Oslo.
Qatar Airways QR Fresh solution maintains all types of perishable goods at their optimal temperature from their departure point through to the final destination, preserving the product’s quality and freshness.
Despite the global COVID-19 pandemic, Qatar Airways Cargo has managed to operate its scheduled cargo freighters and passenger belly-hold flights to ensure the continuity of uninterrupted global trade.
While not being used to carry passengers during the current downturn in the number of people flying, using passenger Boeing 777s to transport fresh fish sounds like the people over at Qatar Airways are thinking outside the box.