Qatar Airways expands salmon-transport service from Norway to Middle East
State-owned flag carrier Qatar Airways transported 46,000 metric tons (MT) of Norwegian seafood on its route connecting Oslo, Norway, with Qatar's capital of Doha in 2021.
Qatar Airways Cargo had to introduce converted passenger planes to serve the Norwegian seafood market last year, with additional flights added into Harstad-Narvik Airport in Evenes and Bodø Airport. Qatar Airways now uses seven passenger flights and six Boeing 777 freighter flights to serve the Oslo-Doha route weekly to provide adequate capacity for seafood cargo, with around 250 MT of seafood transported weekly from Norway to Doha.
“Salmon is a particularly delicate cargo commodity, as it requires skilled, hygienic handling in temperature-controlled conditions and, above all, reliable, fast connections to its final destination,” Qatar Airways Cargo Europe Vice President Rob Veltman said in a press release.
Norway hit an all-time seafood-export record in 2021, exporting 1.3 million tons of salmon valued at EUR 8.57 billion (USD 9.28 billion), affirming the Nordic position as the world’s top salmon exporter.
Around 95 percent of the seafood transported from Norway to Qatar is salmon, according to the FAO.
“There has been a marked surge in demand in most markets caused by the relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions," the FAO said in a recent seafood market update.
Qatar Airways Cargo has partnered with NordicGSA, a subsidiary of ECS Group, to provide seafood logistics services between Norway the Middle East. The partnership won the DB Schenker Seafood Airline Award for three consecutive years between 2018 and 2020.
Managing Director of NordicGSA Norway Managing Director Carl Christian Skage said the prize “is the only award where seafood farmers are the ones judging the various airlines in terms of how they handle perishables, the service offered, their quality and proactiveness, among other factors.”
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