Qatar Airways Cargo has taken delivery of three Boeing 777 twin-engine freighters as the airline continues to grow its cargo division.

This also represents the 200th 777 Freighter to be delivered, claimed Boeing.

The delivery assumes importance as air freight is playing a crucial role amid the Covid-19 pandemic and is estimated to increase more than 4% over the next twenty years.

Following the delivery of the three 777 Freighters, Qatar Airways Cargo now operates 24 of this aircraft model, in addition to two 747-8 Freighters.

Qatar Airways’ freighter fleet serves more than 60 freighter destinations across the world via its Doha hub. It also provides freight on the belly-hold deck of passenger aircraft to a wide network.

Qatar Airways group chief executive Akbar Al Baker said: “With the arrival of these new freighters, we are injecting more capacity in the market which is very much required during the pandemic. The added capacity will also enable us to support the logistics around the Covid-19 vaccination, which is projected to be one of the greatest logistical challenges for the industry.

“With our investments in innovation and fleet, we are able to fulfill our customers’ logistical requirements and facilitate the continuity of global trade.”

With an ability to carry a 224,900lb (102,010kg) payload, the 777 Freighter can fly 4,970 nautical miles (9,200kms).

Boeing claimed that the airplane’s long-range leads to significant savings for operators such as Qatar Airways Cargo as fewer stops result in reduced landing fees, congestion, cargo handling costs and delivery times.

Boeing commercial sales and marketing senior vice-president Ihssane Mounir said: “During these challenging times, Qatar Airways Cargo has been transporting humanitarian relief and medical goods to those in need, and we are proud that their growing fleet of 777 Freighters is supporting such a commendable effort.

“We deeply appreciate our longstanding partnership with Qatar Airways and their confidence in the 777 Freighters as the backbone of their expansive global air cargo operations.”

Boeing claimed that the 777 Freighter is its top selling freighter. Since the programme began in 2005, customers from across the world have ordered 242 777 Freighters, including a record 45 units in 2018.

Meanwhile, in late December, it was reported that Boeing intends to continue work on 787 Dreamliners at its facility in Everett, Washington, even after the factory closes production next year and shifts final assembly to the site in South Carolina, US.