Qatar Airways To Convert A330s To Freighters

May 1, 2012

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Qatar Airways, which last year took a big stake in European freight carrier Cargolux, will convert up to 20 of its Airbus A330 passenger jets into freighters, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

Akbar Al Baker said an announcement could be made at the Farnborough air show in July.

"We are in talks with EFW, negotiations are going on about the delivery schedule. We should be able to come up with something at Farnborough. It should be about 15 to 20 aircraft," he said at a Dubai travel show.

Airbus unveiled the "passenger-to-freight" option for the A330 at the Singapore Air Show in February, in a deal with Singapore's ST Aerospace and EADS EFW of Germany.

The plan involves giving a second life to mid-sized passenger jets. Al Baker had previously threatened to buy converted Boeing 767 aircraft because of a gap in Airbus's cargo strategy.

Qatar Airways, half-owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority, bought a 35 percent stake in freight carrier Cargolux Airlines last year.

(Reuters)