John Batten Â¨C currently managingdirector global network and air cargosales for TNT Â¨C is to become the latestair cargo professional to try his hand atrunning Qatar Airways Cargo.
The airline has had a series of aircargo managers in recent years, someonly staying a few months. Batten insiststhat things will be different this time,though he was remaining tight-lippedabout why ahead of taking up his poston 1 April.
The appointment is an unusual one,since Batten has been with TNT for 25years. "It is not often you see someoneleaving the express industry after sucha long time," he admits. However, Batten’scurrent post, which is in chargeof selling surplus capacity on TNT’s airnetwork, is not irrelevant to his challengeat Qatar Airways.
Batten joins the carrier at a time when it is adding one wide-body passengerplan a month, with a series ofA330s and A340-600s lining up to jointhe fleet. The carrier will also be gettinga third A300-600 freighter in August,and has two B777-200LR freighters arrivingin 2009, in time for the openingof the new Doha airport.
Niko Hermann, a consultant whois currently acting as general managercargo worldwide for the carrier, saysthat further B777 freighters could wellfollow. "They have 20 passenger B777-200s on order, and 20 options, and allthe options could in theory be switchedto freighter orders, though I don’t expectthey all will be," he says.
The new A300F will be used tothicken existing routes, which includeAmsterdam, Frankfurt, Madrid, Nairobi,Eldoret, Khartoum, Dhaka, Lahore,Bangalore, Chennai and Dubai.But some new destinations are alsolikely, with Tashkent or a Central Asiandestination high on the list.
In the summer, Qatar Airways willalso start passenger services to NewYork, its first US destination, using anA340-500 high gross weight aircraft.
To cope with all this growth, thecarrier will be opening an extensionto its cargo facility in Doha in April orMay, which will increase its space bya half. It is also installing a new ULDsystem, semi-automatic racking and aperishables facility. "Even though wewill be moving to the new airport intwo years, we can’t just sit still," says Hermann. "We need the extra capacity now."
Â¨C Peter Conway