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Qatar Cargo to operate perishables airlift?

DOHA: June 05, 2017. The Qatar Cargo weekly A330 freighter service to London Heathrow that began on June 03 could be part of a food airlift if the Saudia Arabia border closure with Qatar is maintained.

The country imports over 90 percent of its food from other parts of the world to feed 2.2 million inhabitants, with 40 percent arriving via the land border with Saudia Arabia.

Qatar Cargo A330  LHRIf panic buying in Doha supermarkets continues, it could lead to higher prices as the availability of fresh food becomes increasingly reliant on Qatar Cargo's fleet of 12 B777s, one B747 and eight A330 freighters.

Deliveries via ocean container seem an unlikely option despite Qatar's 14.4 percent holding in the Hapag-Lloyd/United Arab Shipping Company merger, because Saudia Arabia holds 10.1 percent of the combined business.

And most foreign airlines and ocean carriers won't want to incur an economic and political penalty for breaking the air and ocean embargo set up by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt over claims Qatar has been destabilizing the region.

In March his year Qatar signed a substantial MoU with Britain to increase co-operation across a range of businesses including transport.

Qatar has already invested US$43-US$50 billion in the UK and according to the country's finance minister Ali Shareef al-Emadi, his government plans to invest a further US$6 billion in energy, infrastructure, real estate and services.

Public and private Qatari investors have stakes in the Harrods department store, Sainsbury's supermarket chain, the landmark Shard building in Central London, the former Olympic Village in East London, the International Airlines Group - and Heathrow airport.

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