Tripling the existing capacity, the new $1bn world-scale cargo terminal at the Hamad International Airport will be officially open on April 8, Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar al-Baker said.
The new complex, covering an area of 290,000 sq m, will handle 1.4mn tons of freight a year, al-Baker said on the sidelines of the seventh IATA World Cargo Symposium at the Sheraton.
The new cargo complex is made up of seven facilities, including some 42 airside loading docks, 32 landside loading docks, an air-conditioned warehouse, an automated storage system, a dedicated live animal center and a cargo agents' facility.
"The $1bn investment in freighter operations and the latest technology demonstrate the importance we give to our cargo business, creating a new working environment for cargo agents, operators and our employees. This truly is a fully automated state-of-the-art cargo facility.
"We are focusing heavily on our handling quality, investing in our resources across the entire quality chain …facility, manpower, equipment, IT and robust processes," he said.
The new facilities, serving other cargo operators as well, promised to be a "game-changing" experience, he said.
Qatar Airways cargo now covers the entire network of passenger fleet with some 125 destinations and more to come this year, al-Baker said.
"Our freighters alone have a strong network of more than 40 destinations – a good spread of cities worldwide that are important to meet the needs of the global supply chain. We are using the geographical advantage of our region to connect people and trade on a global scale," al-Baker pointed out.
Of the 121-strong Qatar Airways fleet there are eight freighters, al-Baker said.
Earlier, addressing air freight executives from around the world at the symposium, al-Baker said: "All investments going into our new freighters and facilities at Hamad International Airport show the level of our commitment in a vibrant industry.
"We look forward to being among the top five air cargo operators in the world within the next five years, something that will be a reality which is exciting news for our airline and our employees."
Al-Baker said 2013 would be an exciting year for Qatar Airways Cargo with new aircraft and more dedicated destinations being added.
"We started the year with seven freighters and a solid plan in place to significantly boost our existing freighter fleet this year," he said.
"The delivery of our first Airbus A330 freighter just days ago, and a further two A330s due in Doha over the next few weeks heralds the beginning of a new era for Qatar Airways Cargo.
"Our fifth Boeing 777 freighter will arrive this summer, and we are looking at bringing in a further three Airbus A330s by the year-end. These are truly exciting times for our cargo business which is developing into a world class operation, serving both the regional and international freighter community."
Qatar Airways is this year's World Cargo Symposium host, while its freighter division, Qatar Airways Cargo, is the main sponsor. Local sponsors include International Bank of Qatar (IBQ), Ooredoo and Alfardan Automobiles.