Qatar Airways is adding capacity to Chongqing, where growing electronics manufacturing is fueling an industrial boom, amid a broader expansion of service to Asia.
The three-times-weekly passenger flights from Doha will joint new flights to Beijing and four added frequencies to Hong Kong that will add space for shipping between the Middle East and China.
Although the flights are passenger operations, Qatar Airways has invested heavily in freight business with a goal of competing with Emirates Airlines for the growing trade moving through the Middle East.
Chongqing and Chengdu, some 200 miles away, are becoming major centers of industry. The Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport recently announced a large expansion of its cargo facilities to accommodate technology manufacturing that will include the capacity for annual production 80 million laptops and 50 million cell phones within four years.
Cathay Pacific estimates by the end of this year one in five computers worldwide will have been made in Chengdu. Cathay launched a new twice-weekly scheduled freighter service between Chengdu and Hong Kong via Shanghai in October, and serves Chongqing with a twice-weekly freighter service launched in August.
“Chongqing is a prime example of a city, with its large industrial base and population of almost 30 million people, not having sufficient international air access that it so well deserves,” said Akbar Al Baker, Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Airways. “By entering this market, we have become the only international airline flying westwards from Chongqing, giving easy one-stop access via our Doha hub to destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, North America and South America.
“With Chongqing’s strategic location on the important shipping waterway of the Yangtze River and being a production hub for motor cars, motorcycles, iron, steel, textiles, machinery and electronics, the city has huge market potential for new flights.”