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Qatar Airways launches new pharma flights from Basel and Brussels

Staff Writer |
Qatar Airways Cargo has announced the launch of additional Pharma Express flights from the pharmaceutical hubs of Basel and Brussels to Doha.

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Basel and Brussels are both home to the headquarters of major pharmaceutical companies, while the Swiss chemical exports are largely shipped out of Basel.

Qatar Airways Cargo has added an additional weekly frequency, operating on Fridays, from Basel to Doha and will launch two additional Airbus A330 freighter services from Brussels to Doha on Wednesdays and Saturdays commencing 15 February.

These newly added frequencies take the cargo carrier’s total Pharma Express flights to nine per week.

Pharma Express flights were launched by Qatar Airways Cargo in 2015 and currently operate from pharmaceutical hubs such as Brussels, Basel, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad, transporting more than 30,000 tonnes of pharmaceuticals each year. These routes are served by the Airbus A330 freighter aircraft, offering 65 to 68 tonnes of capacity each way.

Qatar Airways has ditched its plans to launch Al Maha, a domestic airline, in Saudi Arabia.

In an interview with Arabian Aerospace magazine, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker announced the plans for the airline to have been dropped. "Yes I'm disappointed we were not able to launch that airline. We hope we will have another opportunity," Al Baker said in the interview.

The comment was the first public confirmation by the Qatar's national carrier that the project has been dropped, although it was already apparent.

Qatar Airways had gained initial approval from the Saudi aviation regulator, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), to launch Al Maha Airways in 2013. But, GACA had also given approval to another new airline called SaudiGulf Airlines at the same time, which was backed by the local Al Qahtani Group.

Although SaudiGulf launched its services in October 2016 after receiving license, Al Maha had problems receiving final approval.

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